Lessons Learned through a Summer with YVC

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YVC is proud to be part of the Bank of America Student Leaders program here in Kansas City. Bank of America sponsors five interns to spend eight weeks working at YVC and learning the ins and outs of a nonprofit. These students just completed their senior year of high school and help YVC Headquarters in addition to serving as extra support on YVC of Greater Kansas City’s summer projects. Meet Tristen Caudle, one of our 2015 Student Leaders and hear his story of working with YVC this summer.

Rarely in life do things work exactly like we thought they would—for instance, Moses probably felt pretty qualified with the whole “staff in the sand, thousands of tons of water move immediately” thing. But when he walked through on the other side, an entire army behind him, and miles of desert in front—I’m sure he thought, “Okay, now what?”

My story is quite similar to Moses, only without the spectacular beard. I got to be a part of the Bank of America Student Leaders program and begin my internship with the Youth Volunteer Corps of Kansas City, in which getting chosen to be here was a journey all of its own.

Now sitting where I am today, I got to the Red Sea. Something that works quite well for my Moses analogy is that the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City’s t-shirts this year are, in fact, red.

So most of my job this summer involves working with Kansas City’s very own “Sea of Red”: The Youth Volunteers of the Youth Volunteer Corps. I went through this summer, a lot like Moses, thinking that I would need to teach and guide and discipline—and sure, I did some of that. But what I did more of was learn. The Youth Volunteers that I have worked with this summer showed me just how much hope for our future we have.

In the most unlikely of situations, I have seen…

Perseverance…

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Understanding…

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Acceptance…

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…and most of all, a genuine devotion to service in all of the Youth Volunteers.

On the 100+ degree days with 95% humidity, I had to bargain with the youth so that they would stop working and take a water break. On the days where the work was slow, mulching all day or sorting through supplies—the youth would find ways to make tasks interesting, often by telling the most ridiculous jokes. Overall, throughout the entire summer, no matter the condition, the youth found ways to serve and serve wholeheartedly, no matter their background, their experience, or the task itself.

So now, almost like Moses, I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what’s next because I know that there is nearly no limit to what these remarkable youth can do. What I do know is that these youth will go on to accomplish incredible things in their communities, wherever they are.  My experience  with Youth Volunteer Corps and the way that YVC inspires that commitment to service in the youth that come to volunteer with them has assured me of that.

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