The UWATX Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) middle school program aims to transform youth into active community leaders by teaching them leadership skills they need to make lasting change in their communities.
This week, 35 middle school VPL students from the three campuses we work on attended a celebration of their accomplishments at Kerbey Lane Cafe. They ordered pancakes and breakfast tacos from a special menu featuring a letter of encouragement and congratulations from Kerbey Lane’s CEO and UWATX Board Member, Mason Ayer.
These students from Mendez, Webb and Decker Middle Schools completed 20 volunteer projects this year, ranging from making seed balls and beautifying their neighborhoods, to packing hygiene kits for the homeless and leading a craft station for refugee children. After breakfast, students received special certificates, t-shirts and journals to document their ideas on how to continue making Austin greater.
As with any VPL meeting, the event concluded with a peer shoutout exercise we call “brag on your neighbor.” Students and volunteers recognized the contributions of each other that made this year both successful and fun. Below are some messages left by the students on a reflection board from the event:
“Thank you for helping me help others”
“Thank you for showing me skills I didn’t know I had”
“Because of VPL, I know that I want to grow up to be a philanthropist”