Bethany, our Youth Development Coordinator, has been working very hard trying to reach out to various youth organizations across Fort Wayne. The goal, put as simply as possible, is to connect our youth to their neighborhoods through NeighborLink projects. So far she is off to a great start.
As of recent, we paired up with Youth For Christ’s Primetime Community Center and Juvenile Justice group. For the rest of the summer we will be working with kids involved with both Youth for Christ and the Allen County Juvenile Center in service projects closest to their homes. They made a committment to serve weekly for the rest of the summer within the community. How awesome is that?
After personally working with a group last week on a yard work project, I am beginning to see more fully the importance of engaging the youth in these service projects. It goes beyond doing yard work. It is about getting to know the people in need of assistance. I was lucky enough to witness a 17-year old girl who was fully immersed in the service project for this elderly woman we were helping out. I watched her converse with the woman and eventually listened to her pour out her dreams and aspirations. The girl revealed she would love to graduate from college and work in the health field.
I guess what I am trying to say is that service can impact youth in more than one way. Yes, they can see how doing something nice helps a neighbor out, but it goes beyond that. They can learn how to engage with others more effectively. They can gain leadership skills. They can build relationships with people in their community. Ultimately, they can help create a brighter future for our community.
I am excited about this new partnership, and I am even more excited to see what else can be accomplished through empowering the youth!
Holly, PR Intern