Since the Young Leaders Society relaunched earlier this year, volunteering has been a significant focus for our group. It brings us closer to the community we’re working to support, and often it shows us a whole world we didn’t know existed right in our own back yard.
A few weeks ago, we volunteered at Mendez Middle School to plant ten fresh trees on the campus grounds and do some much needed garden maintenance. Our group divvied up and conquered. Some dug holes and made space for the trees, some plucked weeds while avoiding large ant beds, and some went on a trash pick-up. During the trash pick-up, one member found a waterlogged copy of The Giver.
We worked quickly and had some time to spare, when the campus coordinator informed us that just down the street at the recreation center many folks needed assistance after the Halloween floods. We quickly made a beeline to the recreation center for an impromptu volunteer opportunity.
Donations were coming in fast and we were poised to sort them and get them to those in need – dozens upon dozens of bottled waters were loaded on pick-up trucks and to the neighborhoods. We were told that what families most need are baby supplies, i.e. baby formula, diapers, etc. After about half an hour the traffic died down, but we’d experienced the frenzy of being close the front lines of a disaster right in our backyard.
In the past few weeks, others at UWATX have been coordinating volunteer efforts around the Halloween flooding and also taking shifts themselves to clean up homes and support our neighbors.
Volunteering allowed us to connect to our community and one another before heading down to one of our signature tailgate events hosted by our very own Jeremiah Bentley. (His 19 passenger white bus with burnt orange flames is better than your tailgate bus!) It was a nice way to round out the end of the “first season” since the relaunch of YLS,