By: Cordell Fields
Beginning Tuesday, April 12, Breaks with Impact (BWI) is a service-learning program for middle and high school students. Participants learn about the critical issues facing the City of Alexandria and how to help. A past participant said, “This experience was rewarding and I learned a lot.”
BWI will focus on emergency preparedness, the environment, and food insecurity. Participants will hear from emergency preparedness officials and get familiar with the city’s hazards. Volunteering with BWI is an excellent experience for those interested in first responder careers after graduating high school.
Students will also participate in reclamation and environmental awareness at a local park, learn about food insecurity in the city, and discover how nonprofits address these issues. A BWI student who volunteered at a food pantry last year said that they saw the direct impact of their activity on others and how working with people was rewarding. Another student summed up her experience by saying, “Being in the community – making changes – meeting with interesting people,” a testament to the growth and development of students after participating.
BWI provides positive support for young volunteers to learn and grow, develop new interests, build skills, and empower students to play a role in their city. Youth learn how to be valued members of their community. Growing up with a greater sense of social responsibility, they are more likely to volunteer throughout their lives. Volunteering gives children the chance to meet people from different backgrounds and make new friends. It enhances their emotional development, fostering socializing and communication.
Over 90% of participants said they learned ways to make Alexandria a better place, while 84% felt more valued in their communities after service. Students will receive at least four service hours upon completing their day. Students can sign up for one, two, or all three days.
While volunteering, student safety is a top priority. Volunteer Alexandria staff members are fully vaccinated and will wear masks at all times. Masks, hand sanitizer, soap and water, and gloves will be provided, and breaks will be given every hour.
Volunteer Alexandria’s Current Service Opportunities
Go to www.volunteeralexandria.org to explore any that interest you.
Get Ready for Emergency Situations – The Community Emergency Response Team program educates you to prepare yourself, your family, and your community to address hazards that may impact the City of Alexandria and to respond to emergencies. Each class is on Thursdays from 7 to 10 pm, beginning March 10. Participants are required to attend all seven virtual classes to graduate.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Chair – The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) is seeking a chairperson for its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The Chair would develop their committee, develop cultural programs, expand LTA’s awareness in diverse communities, and make recommendations to LTA leadership on inclusiveness and implementing strategies.
Help Students Improve their Reading Skills – The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC) seeks tutors to work with 1st-grade students at least once a week. ATC needs one volunteer at John Adams Elementary from 10:30 to 11 am and two volunteers at Patrick Henry Elementary between 1:50 to 2:25 pm.
Hire Autism Navigator – Organization for Autism Research (OAR) is looking for people with experience in business or workforce development to help autistic adults with their resumes, cover letters, and job interview preparation. OAR is asking volunteers to commit one to two hours per week for three months and work with a single job seeker over a four-week period.
Train to Deliver Health Workshops for Students – The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria will host a presenter training for adults on Friday, February 18, from 10 am to 11:30 am. Volunteers would deliver virtual or in-person Facts and Consequences workshops to middle and high school youth during the school day. These presentations share information about the health and legal consequences of using alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and prescription drugs. No previous experience is required.
Local Library Seeks Repair Coaches for Fixit Clinic – The Beatley Branch Library is looking for skilled professionals and amateur craftspeople who can help people fix items, explain the repair process, and encourage them to do the repair themselves. People with experience in small appliances, furniture, computers, electronics, clothing, jewelry, bicycles, and blades are welcome. Fixit Clinics are from 11 am to 3 pm, beginning in April.