Jacob Hobbs, 17, and Joss Horslen, 16, plant flowers
Someone asked me the other day, what I liked about my job. The answer was easy…working with volunteers. This past year has become even more fun with Friends of Youth expanding its teen volunteer program. In response to calls from parents seeking volunteer opportunities for their teenage son or daughter to fulfill junior high or high school service hours, Friends of Youth started a program called 3 in a Row. Teenagers get together once a month and do three hours of community service in one afternoon. Each month is a different focus, but all incorporate learning about a specific Friends of Youth program and how youth come to be in that particular program.
Additionally, Friends of Youth partners with various youth groups for projects. Wilder Elementary School’s Care and Share Club, Overlake High Schools Community Service Day, Timbercrest Junior High for an annual stocking drive and now the Redmond Youth Partnership Advisory Committee (RYPAC). In honor of National Foster Care Month, the RYPAC crew came armed with gardening tools, donated plants and tons of enthusiasm.
(From left to right) Tylor Town, 14, teen programs director Ken Wong, and Kanon Shibata, 13, planting flowers
Their task was a yard makeover at the Redmond Foster Home. The crew split up and tackled weed pulling, plant transplanting, plant bed preparation, pruning and raking. The weed pulling crews reminded me of Pac Man…gobbling up every weed in site. It was amazing to me that the teens could differentiate between a weed and juvenile plant, but they could, and not a weed remained in any of the flower beds.
RYPAC chair Jesse Ewing-Frable, 17, glues buttons to a pot Saturday for the Redmond Foster Home
The donated plants RYPAC secured added a variety of color and texture to the established beds and the end result was pure artistry! As an added activity, terra cotta pots were embellished with paint, buttons, clay and twine, sprayed with varnish, and then given a plant to create a container garden. It was a fun opportunity for each teen to express themselves and oh did they. The pots were colorful and unique and created a beautiful garden centerpiece. It was an exciting afternoon and great opportunity for teens to support teens and I hope that Friends of Youth can continue to grow this relationship with RYPAC. They are definitely a volunteer force who completes what they set out to do and…has fun while they are doing it!
(From left to right) Mitch Fanning, 17, Joss Horslen, 16, and Jacob Hobbs, 17, display the plants they potted Saturday
Written by: Cheryl Schnelle (Volunteer Coordinator, Friends of Youth)
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