"We believe that we can help restore pride, self-respect, discipline, dignity, and ambitious mind sets in our youth."
A 35-year-old drill team director for Wadsworth Steppers Drill Team and Drum Corps, Inc., of Philadelphia, PA, helps to foster the talent that all children have within and reinforce the basics of what it takes to be successful by providing year-round activity for kids in her community.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Drill Team Director: I volunteer as a drill team director for a youth drill team.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Drill Team Director: Wadsworth Steppers Drill Team and Drum Corps, Inc.
We function out of the Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Drill Team Director: Many of our children are from single parent homes, foster homes, and are latchkey children, etc. This program is in our community to deter children from the violence and mischief of the streets today. We believe that we can help restore pride, self-respect, discipline, dignity, and ambitious mind sets in our youth. Our goal is to have an activity that will help the talent that all children have within and reinforce the basics of what it takes to be successful while having fun with military drill and dance.
What inspired you to get involved?
Drill Team Director: I grew up in the neighborhood and have watched it go from good to bad to worse. Our community has had to deal with numerous youth deaths over the past 10-15 years. I wanted to create a positive activity for the kids to be involved in all year round.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Drill Team Director: I first began as a cheerleading coach for the local youth football team. After football season the children had nothing to do but to wait until the season started again. So, I began the drill team, practicing three days a week with competitions and trips for the kids to be involved in, traveling to areas which they may never have gone to if it weren't for the team.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Drill Team Director: I see more smiles on the faces of our children, excitement, enthusiasm and interest in things other than the latest song on the radio and TV. The kids have begun to believe in themselves and want to be less involved in mischief, if at all.
What is/was the hardest part?
Drill Team Director: Making sure that we have adequate materials for them to use to perform such as drums, flags, banners, gloves, and boots for performances.
What was the biggest surprise?
Drill Team Director: The biggest surprise is the number of community members that turn out to see but not help or contribute to the success of the children.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Drill Team Director: I have learned that children of all ages have issues that I can help them with. It has made me a better person, and it has also made me more eager to find out how else I can help children.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Drill Team Director: It is one of the most rewarding experiences.
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