Spotlight on: YVC of Corvallis

Corvallis Spotlight 9.9.2014

Welcome to our final installment of the YVC Spotlight summer edition! We have had such a great summer with so many amazing accomplishments from YVCs all over North America. For our last spotlight on summer programs, our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Lacey Helmig, made a special visit to YVC of Corvallis, in Oregon, to check out their awesome, unique summer program!

Corvallis - Car Wash 8.1.14 - 9_webSpending a week volunteering in the summer is fun. But when you get to finish that week with a field trip to a service project at a local beach or state park, it’s even more awesome.

That’s exactly what you get to do as a volunteer with YVC of Corvallis. In their summer program, they volunteer four days at a local agency like helping at community gardens or working with low-income childcare centers. Then on the last day, most weeks they go out of town to a project like a nearby state park, a farm sanctuary, or they drive an hour and a half to the Oregon coast to do a beach cleanup.

A few Fridays throughout the year, they stay home and hold a car wash to raise money for the YVC program. These car washes not only raise several hundred dollars throughout the summer, but they also teach youth skills on advertising, customer service, teamwork and more.

For nearly 20 years now, YVC of Corvallis has been a key part of the local community, with hundreds of youth making a difference in their community each year.

AmeriCorps member and YVC Team Leader Jessica Kankovsky gives us a glimpse on what it’s like to volunteer with YVC of Corvallis:

Tell us about your summer program.
It’s eight weeks long. We go Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 3:30, with two teams of youth working on separate projects each week. On Fridays we go out of town together and do an all-day project. We’re going to a farm sanctuary next week, and we’ve done beach cleanups, worked in state parks and more.

Corvallis - Car Wash 8.1.14 - 5_webWhat does a successful summer program look like in your opinion?
Kids enjoy themselves during the summer then keep volunteering throughout the school year.

What makes a successful YVC project?
Cooperative sponsoring organizations who give adequate, meaningful work. We could have rocks to sort, but that’s not exactly meaningful work. Youth need to see the impact of what they’re doing.

How has your perception of youth changed since you started working with YVC?
A lot of kids are more knowledgeable about social issues than I was at their age. It was actually a 12-year-old who suggested changing the gender question on our volunteer application to fill-in-the-blank.

What impact has being a part of YVC had on your life?
I’m a lot more connected to the community. I was thrown into the deep end in a good way. I’ve made so many new contacts, and I know about a whole lot of resources.

What advice do you have for youth who have never volunteered before?
Do it! Find something that interests you then just do it!

Ready to tour some other YVC programs? Check out our previous Spotlights on Greater Topeka, Greater Kansas City, Hampton Roads, Iron County, Plymouth, Calgary and Yellowstone County.

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