Recently, VU has welcomed several new high school volunteers. It’s amazing how quickly they settle in and get right to work with the kids. We know how important it is for the younger ones to have kind and positive teen role models, especially ones who like school and are proud of being good students. The respect and caring that flows among the adults, teens, and students benefits us all and extends beyond the Neighborhood Resource Center to the community.
It shows in such small things sometimes: last week, I greeted a young particpant by name as we passed in the hallway and asked how he was. He not only responded politely that he was fine but recipocated by asking me how I was doing and was attentive to my response. Of course, families and schools get the most credit for teaching students manners, but we know that the everyday exchanges at VU reinforce and normalize respectful relationships with adults and the other kids. No positive interaction is a small thing.
Recently another high school volunteer who had to leave, wrote to tell us how much it meant to her to be able to volunteer:
“I meant to tell you in person today, but I missed the chance to do so. I am so sorry to say that I will no longer be able to volunteer at Vecinos Unidos anymore as I am working more hours. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to volunteer at such a wonderful place and gain invaluable experiences of working with the students. This volunteering experience has helped me grow as a person, and I am very thankful for that. I hope the program continues to grow and have many successes!”