1. What is your school and grade? Also, how long have you been involved with Hands4Hope - Youth Making a Difference?
I am a junior at Oak Ridge high school and I´ve been involved with Hands4Hope for about 5 years.
2. Why did you join Hands4Hope & how did you hear about it?
I joined Hands4Hope in 6th grade when my mom signed me up to volunteer at The Hope House. After having a lot of fun, I started to volunteer there every month. The people were so grateful and volunteering made me feel like I was making a real difference in their lives. After that I started to sign up for more outreaches to get more involved.
3. How has Hands4Hope helped you in school, with your friends and family, and in life?
Doing Hands4hope work has helped me learn a lot of different skills. Being on the different marketing committees has shown me how to have better communication and other skills that I otherwise wouldn't have. Also Hands4Hope has shown me how to step out of my comfort zone by taking leadership positions which have taught me so much. I´ve made a lot of new friends through Hands4Hope through working in committees and clubs.
4. What has your experience been like since joining?
Since joining, my experience has been awesome! I've gotten to work on so many different projects and seeing all our hard work pay off in the end is an amazing experience. I've met a lot of really great people who I wouldn't normally meet. I´ve been able to participate in a lot of different committees like the Winter Boutique and Project Birthday which are a lot of fun. Also, volunteering at Sister Nora's every month was one of my favorite outreaches. Sister Nora´s is a homeless shelter for women. The volunteers would drive down together and make dinner for the women living there. The women were always so grateful for the meal and it gave me an indescribable feeling inside. Every time I went, I would be reminded of the reason I volunteer: to make people's lives better.
5. Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experiences with Hands4Hope?
My favorite outreach was definitely the Fall Festival. Last year, I was on the committee as vice chair. We worked on the project and had meetings months before the event. The weekend of the festival finally arrived and it was so much fun. After working together for months, everyone on our team knew each other pretty well which made volunteering even better. I can honestly say that it was one of the best and most fun experiences ever. Seeing all of our hard work pay off in the end was so rewarding. This year, due to covid, we are unable to have our normal Fall Festival event. Instead we are doing a Fall Food Roundup, so that we can still help out in our community when people need it more than ever. This year, I am the chair of the committee and it's been a great experience. I´ve learned so many different skills with this position, especially communication during the circumstances. The food roundup has given me something to plan for and look forward to during this uncertain time.