Getting Youth Involved: Stories from Adults
At this part of our site you can read stories
about how young people have gotten involved in
Zhelinrentice Scott, 31, of Redford, MI, U.S.
Zhelinrentice Scott, 31, of Redford, MI, USA, teaches music to disadvantaged youth in Detroit.
Jennifer Reddicks, 32, of Westfield, Illinois, U.S.
Jennifer Reddicks, 32, of Westfield, Illinois, serves on a committee that works to make parks and playgrounds accessible to children and families with special needs.
Chef Ralph Brown, Sr., 58, of Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Chef Ralph Brown, Sr., 58, of Charlottesville, VA, works with the Region One Representative for the Community Builders Network of Virginia, which helps young people connect with their local government.
Andrew Benson Greene Jr., 28, of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Andrew Benson Greene Jr., 28, of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, trains youth who are affected by war to use information communication technology as a transformative tool in their lives.
Candace LaGou, 48, of Red Lake, Minnesota, U.S.
Candace LaGou, 48, of Red Lake, MN, volunteers for a project whose goal is to work with children to end poverty in her Indian reservation community.
Carlos Johnson, 36, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
Carlos Johnson, 36, of Jackson, Mississippi, mentors young people in his area who are in need of a male role model.
Rose Orbita, 37, Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines
Rose Orbita, 37, of Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines, volunteers for an anti-smoking committee that targets youth leaders, and encourages them to set a good example for their peers.
Chaka Thomas, 37, Webb, Mississippi, U.S.
Chaka Thomas, 37, of Webb, MS, works with volunteer youths in her community.
Amber Lanita Wise, 21, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Amber Lanita Wise, 21, of Charlotte, North Carolina, volunteers for underprivileged youth in her community.
Jean Pirih, 63, Brookings, Oregon, U.S.
Thankful for her loving home, Jean Pirih, 63, of Brookings, Oregon, wanted to give back and do something productive with children during her retirement by working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children.
Rubina Jones, 45, of Westbury, New York, U.S.
Rubina Jones, 45, of Westbury, New York, is the CEO and Administrator of The Angelic Home Of Hope Foundation, which inspires girls to make positive decisions and accomplish their goals in life.
Heather Semies, 29, of Sykesville, Maryland, U.S.
Heather Semies, 29, of Sykesville Maryland, volunteers for Horse Net Inc., which works with local schools to expose local youth to the need for volunteers within their community.
Nomcebo, 22, of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nomcebo, 22, of Johannesburg, South Africa, works with Extranet Anonymous, a group of college students who teach life and business skills to people in their community.
Drill Team Director, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
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.
Lisa Pakrul, of Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Aftering learning about a fire that destroyed a local middle school's library, School counselor intern Lisa Pakrul, 44, of Spokane, WA, took it upon herself to get donations of books and equipment to restock the facility.
Irma Reuter, of Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Irma Reuter, 37, recruited her musical colleagues to provide music classes for children and youth who otherwise would not get them through their schools. This story was submitted by one of Irma's longtime friends.
Lucille Puckett, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, U.S.
Along with raising eight children and earning her bachelor's degree in social work in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Lucille Puckett, now 38, started an afterschool and summer enrichment program for underprivileged children and youth in her apartment complex.
Jason Alexander, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Jason Alexander, 33, runs Basketball Science, a program that provides strength-conditioning programs in basketball, athletics, and business during the summer months to children from low-income families.
Marilyn Chisolm, of Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Marilyn Chisolm, 49, of Columbia, SC, oversees her ministry's chapter of GoGirlGo!, a national initiative of the Women's Sports Foundation to improve girls' health and self-esteem through physical activity.
Glenn Shockley, of Albuquerque, New Mexico U.S.
Delivery driver Charles Glenn Shockley, 57, invented the field game of terfball, "designed to have a lot of participants and be non-contact and co-ed so everyone can play." For the last 15 years he has volunteered with Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation to teach, play, and referee terfball games for local children and youth.
Elissa Taylor, of Clearwater, Florida, U.S.
Elissa Taylor, 35, works as the booking manager for the Eckerd Theater Company and as an instructor for the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute, both of which are based in Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. Elissa helped the youth enrolled at the Institute to put on a benefit concert to raise money for a school in Biloxi, MS, one of the cities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Freida Hecht, of Norwalk-Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Freida Hecht, 47, enjoys being with children. This mother of 11 and part-time teacher recruits high school and college-age volunteers to visit and befriend children and youth with special needs.
Becky Tai, of Cumming, Georgia, U.S.
Realizing that the children in a nearby trailer park had virtually no means to participate in summer camp activities, Becky Tai decided to bring summer camp to them.
David Gaby, 50, of Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
In response to demand for positive youth activities in his neighborhood, David Gaby, organized a summer program in which the neighborhood children and teens learned about their area's history and architecture.
Monica S. Floyd, 32, of Christiana, Tennessee, U.S.
Monica Floyd works two jobs as a respite consultant and case manager. Yet she manages to find time to volunteer as a drama teacher in the visual and performing arts program that she founded for children and youth.
Rene Giacalone, 42, of Melville, New York, U.S.
While her youngest daughter was battling bone cancer, Rene was able to manage the emotional and physical demands of daily life, thanks to her support network of family, friends and community. In response, her family founded The Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer to support and help families of young cancer patients, with a special focus on their younger relatives.
Ernestine Volcy, 35, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
In her spare time, certified nursing assistant Ernestine Volcy, writes and produces plays performed by youth living in shelters and transitional housing.
John C. Williams, 40, of Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
John C. Williams heads a teen filmmaking program in which the students create documentaries about their own lives, some of which have won awards and have been broadcast on several networks. Additionally, each student is mentored by a professional filmmaker.
Cindy Craig, 58, of Prescott Valley, Arizona, U.S.
Nearly three year ago, retired teacher Cindy Craig started Youth Count, a youth volunteer corps, in her community. In one project, teens learn sign language and how it can be used with people other than the hearing-impaired. More than 500 youth participate in activities that range from working with seniors to grantmaking.
Wesley Fagan, 38, of Clarksville, Tennessee, U.S.
After his day job of training MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew members, Wesley Fagan spends some of his evenings and weekends raising money, building props and hauling equipment so the young musicians of Kenwood High school's marching band can have opportunities to perform at competitions and away games.
Adrienne Thomas, 46, of San Bernardino, California, U.S.
Adrienne Thomas spends her free time guiding and encouraging a young African American dance troupe that performs krump, a new dance form that has become wildly popular in the Southern California region.
Tarsha Proctor, 30, of Clinton, Maryland, U.S.
The message that Tarsha Proctor tries to convey to the youth in her D.C.-area arts program is the same advice for would-be volunteers as well as herself.
Lorraine Anderson, 80, of Tucson, Aizona, U.S.
Lorraine organizes a holiday party every December for the city's underprivileged children.
Brenda Wilcox, 40, of Houston, Texas, U.S.
Massage therapist Brenda Wilcox helps teens and their parents overcome the "family disease" of adolescent substance abuse and addiction.
Marietta Montalvo, 62, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Marietta started a faith-based resident home for pregnant teens and teenage mothers in order to provide them a safe environment to pursue their education and develop parental and life skills.
Wayne Winston, 35, of Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Recording artist and producer, Wayne Winston provides an outlet for the youth in Brooklyn to express their artistic talents by giving them opportunities to perform in various venues and act as role models for their peers.
Beverly Pfeffer, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Children and youth with special needs develop self-esteem and other life skills by interacting with horses at the Pocono Equestrian Center, which rescues the animals from neglect and abuse.
Jennifer Mann, 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Retired Army major and her colleague, Ida Moss, noticed that foster youth were ill-prepared for independence so she began teaching them bookkeeping and life skills so they could find and keep a job in order to support themselves.
Christal Brown-Gibson, 32, of Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Musician & songwriter Christal Brown-Gibson founded a community chorus for children and youth living in rural communities near Charleston, SC.
Gearline Young, 68, of Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
Retired school guidance counselor Gearline Young used her skill and training in fine arts to connect other women in the community with teens in the Girls Probation House, Fairfax County's long-term treatment facility for girls placed there by judicial disposition to reduce chronic acting-out delinquent behavior.
Marci A. Rinner, 31, of Norwalk, Ohio, U.S.
Marci grieved over her brother's 1999 death from a heroin overdose. She overcame her grief by telling her story to middle school students, and the experience led her to volunteer frequently as a public speaker and to form her own organization to raise students' awareness of the consequences from drug use.
Jack Sutherland, 51, of Penfield, New York, U.S.
Motivated by his own childhood experiences with stuttering, Jack founded a one-week support camp for children and youth who stutter, which is in its fourth year of operation.
Armando Torres López de Lara, 64, of Torreón, Coahuila, México
Armando overcame his depression over his son's death by volunteering his horses for physical therapy of poor and severely disabled children.
Karen Kitchel, 52, of Eagan, Minnesota, U.S.
Karen started her family's Thanksgiving tradition of filling birthday bags for children living in shelters. She eventually left her 30-year career in management to work full time for Cheerful Givers, the nonprofit of which she is now president.
Yvonne Batts, 42, Gates, North Carolina, U.S.
Yvonne and her husband have counseled and sheltered at-risk youth in their home for the last 15 years.
Xavier Zsarmani, 35, of Statesville, North Carolina, U.S.
Xavier helped his community heal after seven of its teens died in a car accident by writing and staging a play about the event.
Dan McAnney, 38, Hammonton, New Jersey, U.S.
Dan is a pastor who offers his home in Hammonton, NJ, as shelter and support for homeless and runaway youth.
Karen Dorame, 64, Glendale, Arizona, U.S.
Diane Louie, 43, of Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Karen created Special Kids Photography of America, a nonprofit that trains professional photographers in how to take pictures of children with special needs.
Diane created the Founders Academy, a program that works specifically with adolescent children of recovering addicts.
Vincent "Kuroji" Patrick, 31, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Pat Martin, 47, Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S.
Vincent "Kuroji" Patrick found his place in the community by providing inner-city youth an artistic respite three days a week.
One day, Pat Martin bought some ballet tutus for the children in her day care. The changes she observed in the girls inspired her to form a dance organization for children and youth in metro Atlanta.
Milissa Boykin, 43, Pascagoula, Mississippi, U.S.
Inspired by a 12-year-old selfless child, Milissa Boykin developed Kara’s Kloset to provide foster families in southern Mississippi with clothing, basic supplies and support.
Joanne Jones, 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Joanne Jones is a teacher who founded a nonprofit to help at-risk youth in Philadelphia build their self-esteem so they can make positive choices in life.
Kathy Pinkney, 49, Bronx, New York, U.S.
Over the last 10 years, Kathy Pinkney, 49, has partnered with the New York City Parks Department and Housing Authority to create opportunities for children and youth in the Bronx to run their own basketball and double-Dutch tournaments.
Duane Kennedy , 44, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.
Simone Edwards, 30, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Private investigator Duane Kennedy volunteers with other bikers around the country to search for and reunite abducted children with their parents or guardians.
Seattle Storm center Simone Edwards created Simone4Children, an organization to assist economically disadvantaged children in Seattle and Jamaica, her home country. The group, along with Seattle International Dream Center, also helps to feed dinner to the homeless in downtown Seattle.
Lee Ann Stein, Owensboro, Kentucky, U.S.
Fred Tripp, 51, Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
As a volunteer of the "Shine Into Reading" program, Lee Ann received a grant to provide one-on-one reading instruction in her daughter's elementary school library.
Fred co-founded the Concerned Parents of Pueblo, which deals with youth gangs by providing an incentive program that rewards teens for community service, good grades and perfect attendance.
William Pickell, 46, Melbourne, Florida, U.S.
Children in Melbourne, Florida, learn to create masks and other art with discarded palm tree husks, thanks to William Pickell.
Cindy Elsberry, 34, Acworth, Georgia, U.S.
Cindy founded Project Fit Kids,
Inc. to teach children and educators, in metro Atlanta, that physical activity is fun – and necessary.
Keshia Roberts, 36, Humboldt, Tennessee, U.S.
Keshia co-founded The Little Angels Club, whose members are young boys and girls helping to teach
their peers about bicycle safety.
Sidney Hayes, 34, Bronx, New York, U.S.
Sidney helps educate and inspire inner city youth on striving for better community life by learning
the importance of voting, education, job opportunities, first aid, and and sports.
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