Two volunteer events in one month? That’s right. November is a busy month for people, but both opportunities were at different times (weekend vs. weekday) and were very different in nature. This particular event was a cool opportunity that combined environment and education. We originally signed up to help the McFarland Youth Center to help improve the exterior appearance of their building, including some gardening/landscaping, but our plans changed because of the weather. Luckily, they had plenty of opportunities for us indoors!
This was an important event because the McFarland Youth Center is a community-based organization committed to middle level youth, families and community by providing a safe recreational and educational environment. By incorporating adult-supervised, youth oriented activities, the McFarland Youth Center promotes positive relationships by building and fostering developmental assets. Since 1998, the McFarland Youth Center has provided after-school and summer programming for middle school students in the McFarland community.
Given the audience and our background, CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation donated some materials to the youth center. CUNA brought some cool swag from Youth Week and some great reproducible worksheets full of financial literacy-related stories, activities, puzzles, and comics for middle school kids. On behalf of the Foundation, I brought some “Money Rules” financial literacy guidebooks as well as a couple DVD box sets of Biz Kid$, the PBS show that teaches middle schoolers how to make and manage money.
We had a great time. The staff had a strong AmeriCorps presence and seemed to really like working there. Also, the kids were great to be around and staff said they don’t get much exposure to adult volunteers. Because of that, I had a blast playing a hilarious game of Apples to Apples with them (Marnie did too). Jan and Kris spent most of the time putting up holiday decorations with Joey, a boy who enjoyed helping them so much, he asked his mom when she came to pick him up if she could come back later (she did)! We also cleaned the center as much as we could, including the bathrooms and re-organized the art and kitchen cabinets. What a refreshing and different volunteer opportunity!