By Mary Wadland
ALEXANDRIA,VA-Volunteer Alexandria is seeking middle and high school students to spend one to three days learning first-hand about the social issues Alexandrians face and how local non-profit organizations address these issues. Breaks with Impact – Doing Good in the Neighborhood is a hands-on experience for students to learn how hunger, homelessness, the environment, etc. affect the residents of our city and how the students can make a difference.
The program’s objectives are to create a strong understanding of why volunteering is important, inform youth on the issues area nonprofits address, educate youth on how a nonprofit fulfills their mission, provide ways youth can identify an issue important to them, encourage youth to be involved in community, and make youth feel more valued in the community. In April, 17 students were able to participate in the program, which started at Meade Memorial Church for welcoming and learning about hunger in our City. Later that morning, the students traveled to Alexandria Families for Safe Streets (AFSS). Students reached out to pedestrians and drivers to let them know more about how to safely cross streets or be aware of pedestrians in the Carlyle area. One student responded to the question about what they enjoyed best, “I enjoyed learning about being safe while also having an interactive experience with pedestrians. I also enjoyed learning about other people’s stories.”
After lunch, the students served at Alexandria Community Shelter and made the shelter more welcoming for its residents by cleaning bathrooms, sleeping rooms and public spaces. After volunteering, the students heard from speakers from the shelter and from the City’s Alexandria’s Substance Abuse Center. It was a great experience for the students to hear from four different speakers. All the speakers had a great impact on the students. “I enjoyed how we were all supportive and helped the current shelter members,” said a student after the program. Another responded that it changed her life hearing from the clients.
Enrollment for July and August is open now: Visit VolunteerAlexandria.org/BWI
High School: Jul 10 – 12, Aug 26 – 28. One day program on July 23rd
Middle School: Jul 15 – 17, Aug 19 – 21. One day program on July 25th
Email Myra at [email protected] for questions.