By Cordell Fields, Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Alexandria
Alexandria, VA – “I made my package for people who are struggling financially because many people are not getting paid.”
“I felt happy that I am helping out people in need.”
These are two responses from students who learned about a need in our community and volunteered their time during COVID-19 to give back.
Every spring and summer break, Volunteer Alexandria implements Breaks with Impact (BWI). BWI is an alternative spring and summer break for middle and high school students. BWI participants engage with speakers and community leaders, and undertake a variety of service learning projects across Alexandria. Projects have included removing invasive species, exploring careers, cleaning up a local park, and learning about mental health.
This spring with COVID-19, Volunteer Alexandria took on the challenge and turned the program into a virtual one. Twice a week we conducted virtual sessions with local nonprofit and government agencies. Nearly a dozen organizations participated and challenged students to do service projects at home or in their community during April and May. Students developed care packages for people affected by the pandemic, provided input on pedestrian safety, developed family emergency plans, and wrote an encouraging word to families.
This summer we will continue BWI with virtual and in-person visits to nonprofit and government agencies. Dates this month are July 7 and 9, July 14 and 16th, July 21 and 23, and July 28 and 30. Topics include social issues, human services, environment, etc. For information or to register, please visit www.volunteeralexandria.org, send a message to BWI@volunteeralexandria.org, or call Cordell at (703) 836-2176.
Children and youth engaged in service develop compassion as they learn the value of giving to others. They learn to appreciate what they have and to work with others. They learn how to be a valued member of their community. Growing up with a greater sense of social responsibility makes young people more likely to volunteer throughout their lives.
Volunteer Alexandria mobilizes and connects people six and older with community needs. For more details about volunteering, visit www.VolunteerAlexandria.org or call 703-836-2176.