Sick of hearing the phrase, "that's the problem with kids these days?"
So is the Warren YMCA.
After noticing a lack of youth involved in volunteering throughout the county, the YMCA began to develop a pilot program that would instill youth with the knowledge of what community service can do.
Times Observer photo by Brian Collins
The Kiwanis Club, Key Club and YMCA have united to encourage volunteerism among local youth, starting as young as first grade. Pictured are members of all three organizations who met on Thursday for the presentation of the charter by the Kiwanis Club and to elect officers for the YMCA’s new program. Youth members of the new program are, left to right, Brady Berdine, Kendra Noe, Emma Berardi, Madelyn Jones, Delaney Yourchisin, and Alyssa Farr. Also shown are Key Club members Zach California, Joe Lant, Kyle Holcomb, Alex Bailey and Elise Brown, and Kiwanis Club members Dick Swanson, Brent Casey, John Kersey, Jon DuShaw, Bob Hampson, Charles Merroth and Pete Smith.
According to Kim Slocum, the program directors asked themselves, "what can we do to make kids more aware?"
Thanks to help from the local Kiwanis Club, a charter was set in motion and the program has since taken off.
"We used child care as the core group for our program," said Slocum, "and we've since opened it up to the public."
Children can join the program for free, but there is limited space so those who are interested should act now. The children meet twice a month and have a project to work on. Most recently, the group took part in organizing a drive to collect cleaning supplies for the needy.
"It's the last thing that most people in need will buy," explained Slocum. "food, clothing, and the other basics will typically come before cleaning supplies, so that's what we focused on."
As of Thursday, Jan. 24, the group received its charter, and members of the Kiwanis Club who helped to set the program in motion were there to present it to the group.
To provide the children with a role model, the Key Club at Warren Area High School has volunteered time to help mentor the children through the program. "We're really excited to be a part of this," said Key Club advisor Catherine Hagadorn. Helping to facilitate the program, Hagadorn helps to set up the meetings and programs. Joining her is Tiffany Lester, a pre-school teacher at the YMCA.
The program is still developing, says Slocum, but things are well on their way. "It gets the kids thinking about how they can be a bigger part of the community and how they can contribute," she added. "We're hopeful that parents in the community notice our efforts and get involved. Truly, we need a bigger involvement from and in the community."