Written by luna stephens
Youth connected with the community through their work at both the Lawrence Community Shelter and Just Food during Summer of Service June 20 through 24.
Of all of the activities the youth participated in throughout the week, they enjoyed bagging groceries for Just Food customers and getting to meet people at The Shelter the most, where they got to see who they were helping face to face.
“It was kind of nice to see the people that we were helping out,” Emma Jones said, “when we were at the storefront of Just Food and when we were in the Community Shelter and talking to the people.”
Many of the youth had heard of Just Food and the Shelter, but didn’t know exactly what these agencies did before they were able to get involved this week.
“I learned that I should be more grateful, Callie Knapp said. ”It just feels good that you’re getting to do this kind of help in the community, and help people who are less fortunate than you.”
While the youth may volunteer in the community in different ways, they said Summer of Service stood out in that it’s just as much a learning experience as a service to the community.
“It doesn’t just assign you a job, but it gives you more of an insight to why you’re doing it,” Aoife Trotter said. “We had a social justice activity, instead of us just helping out we figured out why the problems were happening that caused people to be homeless.”
Getting to connect with the community, meet new people, and learn makes for a rewarding experience that brings youth back to the program year after year.
“This is my first time [volunteering],” Knapp said, “but it really inspired me to want to do more.”