Students Use Summer Break to Give Back
High school students from across Denver traded time hanging out with friends this summer for volunteering at Volunteers of America's Summer Institute, July 18 through 22.
"Yes, spending time at the pool or just hanging out is fun, but no feeling in the world compares to the feeling I get when I volunteer," participant Abi Bosworth said.
Eighteen young people came together for a week of serving meals, spending time with seniors, and playing with kids, each clocking 40 volunteer hours. For many students, working with homeless and poverty-stricken families and individuals was a new experience.
"While going through the summer institute, I've learned that homelessness is not just about people not having jobs. There are many people who have jobs and they just don't receive enough money to feed their families or keep a roof over their heads," participant Nyna Jackson said.
In addition to giving back, students spent time reflecting on and discussing how their experience volunteering and building relationships had changed their perspectives.
Each day the students volunteered with a different human service program in the Denver area. One day the group hosted a carnival for families at Volunteer of America's Family Motel, an emergency shelter on west Colfax that gives homeless families the opportunity to stay together. Students played games with the kids and gave parents a much-need opportunity to relax and have fun with their kids amidst a difficult time.
"It is important to know what is going on in the community around us and volunteering with this camp opened my eyes immensely," Bosworth said.
Volunteers of America hosts Summer Institute each July and also offers opportunities throughout the year for youth and families to volunteer. For more information visit our youth and family volunteering page.