October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It was also Make A Difference Day, and with a grant from the Charles H. Bassett Youth Foundation, YES Club students volunteered at A New Hope Center‘s domestic violence shelter. The students gained valuable life skills as they taped and painted three small rooms at the shelter and helped with a variety of other small projects around the shelter. They especially enjoyed chatting with a few of the residents and knowing that what they were doing, though small, really is important.
Leading up to their day of volunteering, the YES Club students did a household supplies drive. A New Hope Center provides basic household items and cleaning supplies to residents who are transitioning to live on their own. YES Club was able to collect several boxes, bags, and tubs of all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, blankets, household linens, toiletries, and kitchen items.
YES Club hosted a Pancake Supper fundraiser dinner for their spring community service project. They raised enough money to refurbish two wheelchairs to be shipped overseas to people with disabilities who otherwise are not mobile. The proceeds are being donated to Joni & Friends Wheels for the World.
*Used with permission
This will be my third year in the YES (Youth Engagement Services) Program. The YES Club is not just for the field trips. It means so much more. For example, we get extra help with homework and classes we’re struggling in. When I was in 8th grade, I struggled so badly. At that time, I didn’t know YES Club existed, so I didn’t get the help I needed to pass all my classes. I failed all but one of my classes. At the end of the year, one of my teachers had emailed Mrs. Rae, who was the coordinator at that time, and asked her about getting help next year so I could pass. I was enrolled officially in the program my second year of 8th grade. Since I’ve been in the program, I have passed all my classes and I’ve learned that doing my homework is the main key and attendance. I’d miss so much school, but now I have perfect attendance.
The program is good for more than school help. I had a lot of help with personal issues. I knew I could go to them, and I’ll get the advice that I need to know. I used to be a very shy girl. I wouldn’t talk to anyone or try to make friends. The longer I was in YES Club, I got more confident. We went on trips to colleges. We volunteered as servers at a food tasting at a church, and can I just say how much it boosted my confidence to go up to complete strangers and ask if they’d like to try something, risking being told to go away? But of course, everyone was so nice and polite. For fun trips, we get reward outings every marking period. Everyone who is passing their classes can go. If you’re not passing all your classes, you don’t get the privilege to go.
One of the big things for me is I learned to make friends. If I hadn’t joined YES Club, I would not have my six best friends I have now. I recommend to anyone who is struggling with school or anything at home to join YES Club. It helps so much. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t joined YES Club, and I owe a big thanks to YES Club and everyone that has run it in the past three years.