First, a little background. In August of 2010, the MYBC kicked off its first ever mentoring initiative. Students from Coalition programs were matched with mentors (usually directors or program staff). Mentors and mentees meet frequently and also take part in a mentoring activity at each monthly Coalition director's meeting. This group was tasked with organizing a service project as a capstone to their year and have been planning ever since. They decided this event would focus on after-school youth in a program community and elected to hold a carnival. To fit into our "Serving Across the State" model, YB Worcester offered to host.
A carnival is nothing without fun activities for kids. Good thing we have ten programs with students and staff who hone their construction skills over the YouthBuild year. YB Lowell kicked in a "human whack-a-mole" stand. YB Fall River built a ladybug bean bag toss. Just-A-Start YouthBuild had kids fishing for candy. Throw in face-painting station, temporary tattoos, bubbles, jewelry boxes, a clown, a whole lot of prizes and the kids in the Guild of St. Agnes after-school program didn't know where to begin. It was great to see the enthusiasm YouthBuild students brought to giving back to youth in Worcester. By the time the carnival wrapped and the prizes were running low, the 50 or so youth in attendance had all our volunteers gasping for air, but that is the sign of a great day.
This event goes to show that serving your community more often than not begins with its youth, and it can mean nothing more than brightening their afternoon. I think we all walked away from this event with a smile on our faces, and MYBC programs were happy to donate all of the carnival games and snacks. We hope to be back to the Guild of St. Agnes soon.
Special thanks to Maren Reisch, MYBC Mentoring Coordinator for organizing this event, and to all of the mentees who planned it every step of the way. The Guild of St. Anges provided a great space and were accommodating to all our needs.
Tomorrow, we're serving at the Trustees of Reservation Westport Town Farm site.
Photos below, care of Jamilyn Gordon of YB New Bedford.
Day Three, Worcester: 35 Volunteers (30 AmeriCorps Members) served 105 hours total
Week Totals: 98 volunteers, 388.5 hours
Tomorrow's Weather.com forecast: Mostly cloudy skies. High 58F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph.
-Paul, your VISTA blogger