Spotlight on: YVC of Greater Topeka
August is already here and with it the end of summer. We’re sad to see summer go but we are excited for the beginning of a new school year and a whole new group of after school and Saturday projects!
As we near the end of our YVC Spotlight series on Summer of Service programs, we are going to visit YVC of Greater Topeka. YVC of Greater Topeka has been a part of the YVC network for five years, and they have an awesome program and Youth Advisory Board to show for it.
Abby Schletzbaum, AmeriCorps Team Leader and Elena Blum, YAB member, show us around their fantastic program.
Abby Schletzbaum, AmeriCorps Team Leader:
Tell us about your summer program:
YVC of Greater Topeka’s Summer of Service program has projects from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as every third Saturday. We serve a variety of agencies like the zoo, Parents as Teachers, Successful Connections and Arts Connect.
What is the most successful part of your summer program?
The most successful part of YVC of Greater Topeka has been the sustainable growth of our summer program and the recruitment of dedicated Advisory Board members.
How do you select the agencies for your summer projects?
Most agencies have a working relationship with the United Way (YVC’s host organization), so Kim (YVC of Greater Topeka’s Program Director) selected agencies that she knew would be able to host Youth Volunteers appropriately.
How do you celebrate the end of YVC’s Summer of Service?
All Youth Volunteers will be mailed a certificate and a thank you card, and we will be kicking off the fall program with an information table and bake sale (to raise money for the Summit) at the Topeka First Friday’s event.
What has been the most rewarding part of this YVC AmeriCorps experience for you?
The most rewarding part of the AmeriCorps experience has been to develop the capacity of YVC of Greater Topeka to allow more youth a wider variety of projects to serve at, as well as developing friendships with the Youth Advisory Board and mentoring them on how to have sustainable success with YVC and their future service.
Elena Blum, Youth Volunteer and Youth Advisory Board member:
How many YVC projects have you done?
I have been volunteering since 2012 but this is my first summer doing Summer of Service. I started in June and have done three projects each week.
What is your favorite part of volunteering?
I like meeting new people. I like seeing what I can do to help out the community; I didn’t know there were so many different problems in the community.
What is your advice to first time volunteers?
Don’t be afraid to approach someone new in the group, make it fun!
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