Skip to main content

Introducing the Youth Volunteer Corps

The organization I work for was started in Kansas City in the 1980's by a man named David Battey. It now has over 50 member sites all over the United States and Canada. Those of us in the Kansas City branch have the advantage of working in an office shared by the national staff. David even comes in periodically. You can learn more at the YVCA website if you're interested.

The Kansas City Branch consists of 5 team leaders (I am one of them), the program director (my boss), and the program cultivation artist. You can meet the team here. Warning: my bio is pretty cheesy. 

Anyway, my job has three main parts (for now).

The first is an after-school project. Every Thursday, I bring a group of youth volunteers (11-18 years old) to a place called Operation Breakthrough

 Operation Breakthrough is both a day care and an alternative school for children living in poverty. 98% of the children are living below the poverty line. 25% of them are in foster care. Another 25% are homeless. My group gives these kiddos attention. We play games with the kids, we read to them, color pictures, do homework - whatever they need.
I made this recruitment poster for Operation Breakthrough.
On Wednesday mornings, I work with Associated Youth Services, an alternative high school for long-term suspended students. 
On these days, the students are the volunteers. Thus, sometimes I give a lesson, and other times we all go somewhere for a service-learning project around Kansas City, KS.

The other team leaders have their own in-school and after-school programs. The activities, ice-breakers, and lessons are all planned and executed by the team leader in charge. However, another really important part of my job is the weekly Saturday project. All of the team leaders sort of collaborate for these projects. We try to have at least two projects available every Saturday for volunteers.

How do we set up these projects? I'm glad you asked. That's an important part of my job - finding nonprofit organizations that need help. Once I've found one, I set up a Saturday with them, bang out the details of the project - number of volunteers needed, orientation, supplies - and discuss it with the other team leaders. Once a project has been confirmed, I recruit volunteers. Some of this is done for me by judges. Lots of kids (or their parents) call our office because a judge ordered them to gain X many volunteer hours before such-and-such a date, and YVC is one of the best ways they can get those hours. Other volunteers are students who need it to graduate or to be in NHS, 4-H, their Homeschool group, or what-have-you. Still others are just kids with bad home situation that just want to get away and make some new friends.

Then, we work on the learning part of the service-learning project. Generally, this takes the form of a short lesson, an educational activity, or a talk from a representative of whatever nonprofit we happen to be working with. Finally, we designate a team leader (or two, if it's a bigger project) to lead the project, and when Saturday rolls around, that leader meets the youth and bam - the work gets done. So far I've worked at a couple of urban community gardens, a homeless shelter, an arboretum, and a nature sanctuary. 

So there are three components - in-school, after-school, and Saturday projects.

That's it for now. I'll talk about more of my duties in later posts.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Clink (New Friends)

Each other is all we have. It's no surprise, then, that when we think about the chapters of our lives, those chapters usually begin and end with the beginning and ending of relationships. My current chapter began in July 2016, when I made the move from Philadelphia to Denver. In many ways, it was the fulfillment of a promise made between Peace Corps friends; Carly, Evan, and I spoke often of our desire to live in the same place some day, and after two wonderful years spent with Kyla, it was time for me to join them.

The great advantage to this arrangement is that Evan and Carly had been cultivating friends in my absence, so upon my arrival last summer, I was met with a wonderful group of people who had been carefully conditioned by Evan and Carly to like me.

Readers of this blog will remember Evan and Carly from my Peace Corps days. They were the closest I had to family for two years, and by the end of our service, we were inseparable.


Pappy. Pop-pop. Dilly-dally. Evan is know…

Reaction to Dante's Hell as Portrayed in Dante's Inferno

Since its Patristic roots, the Church has struggled with two seemingly contradictory aspects of God's nature. One one hand, God is said to be loving and caring towards his creation. At the same time, however, God is seen as a judge, dealing out justice to all according to their actions. Some Christians have argued that God, due to his overabundance of love, can never punish or cause harm. Other Christians have no qualms in maintaining that a loving God sends people to Hell, even against their own will. Most fall in between these two extremes. I would maintain that Dante's view of punishment in Hell errs on the side of the latter extreme, given the assumption of a loving God as described in Christian literature. The God portrayed in Dante's Inferno punishes based on gross oversimplifications. His God ignores the larger picture of human psychology and sociological influences in addition to the rehabilitative capacities of wrongdoers.

Good parents do not punish their children …

Morocco, Land of Ambiguity

The sun was pummeling me. On my shoulders and on the back of my skull. When Moroccans catch the sniffles, they say "The cold hit me." On this particular afternoon in Sidi Bennour, as I wandered from street to street, that bully Sol took no mercy, and as my fragile frame absorbed each blow, I could feel the scorn from the sun, the mocking and scorn, and not just from celestial bodies, but Arab bodies as well, from behind their piles of watermelon and cactus carts, straw hats and tooth-ish grins going "What is this white guy doing wandering around here in the middle of the afternoon?"

What I was doing was looking for a damned pair of socks. Eventually, I found a guy selling piles of used clothes. There appeared to be no order to the mess, so I just asked him if he sold any packages of socks. Hell, I didn't know. I've witnessed butchers selling toothbrushes on the side. Anyway, I might as well have asked the man if he had any poisonous snakes for sale. He could…