Monthly Archives: February 2013

Serving and finding passions

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In a time of high youth unemployment, YVC projects have become a valuable place for youth to build job skills and explore potential careers–all while having a great time serving their community. We always love hearing about youth who have pursued careers as a result of their experience with YVC, so we were thrilled to receive this story from Deb Curtis, Program Director of YVC of Corvallis.

We do a variety of projects every week in our summer YVC program. What we’ve found, in the 12 years that I’ve been doing this, is that youth often think they don’t like doing something and would never consider volunteering for that type of project, but afterwards they realize that they really did like it.

The first or second year I was a YVC Program Director, a young woman came up to me after orientation with her weekly schedule. She told me that she really didn’t want to work at the assisted living facility that was on her schedule. She said that she didn’t like old people and really wouldn’t be comfortable with that project. I asked her if she would be willing to try it once and see how it went. She agreed to try it.

In the post-surveys we did, her post survey mentioned how she reluctantly came to YVC the day we were going to the facility, but by the end of the day really enjoyed herself.

That was great in itself, but about four years later I ran into her mom on the street and asked her how her daughter was and what she was doing. She told me that her daughter was in college studying gerontology and hoping to work with elders to make their last years a positive, wonderful experience.

I, personally, believe that the experience this young woman had at YVC made a big difference in her life and gave her an experience she wouldn’t have chosen for herself as well as led to her career.

Do you have a story on how YVC helped you explore career options? Email Lacey at lhelmig@yvc.org to share your story.

 

YVC’s Biggest Fan

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This blog post was written by David Battey, president and founder of YVC, and longtime friend of Adele Hall.

YVC’s biggest fan passed away unexpectedly last weekend.

Adele Hall believed fervently in the three things that make up YVC—youth, team and volunteerism. She devoted her life to empowering youth. She knew the strength in being part of a team. Her life epitomized the power of volunteerism.

Everyone who met Adele was drawn to her gracious enthusiasm. She made you feel valued. A perfect example is that our COO Tracy Hale told me that she is so glad she had the opportunity to tell Adele in one of their last conversations that Adele epitomized the Maya Angelou saying that “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

A side of Adele that wasn’t so commonly seen was her strategic brilliance and dogged determination. When I first thought about starting up some sort of youth volunteer program straight out of college in the fall of 1986, a number of people urged me to run the concept by Adele. They understood how helpful she would be in plotting strategy for my fledgling idea.

YVC’s Board of Directors in 1995. Back row: Lynne Drummond, Rich Davis, Dave Smith, Bunni Copaken, Dan Boggan and Shirley Helzberg.
Front row: Jacques Barber, David Battey, Don Sloan, Adele Hall and Peggy Dunn.

I had known Mrs. Hall while growing up in Kansas City, but it was awkward making that call asking for 30 minutes of her time to look over my measly one-page concept paper. The awkwardness disappeared quickly as she urged me to come on over to her house to chat. Little did I know that was to be the beginning of a 26-year friendship forged by a shared belief in young people and volunteerism.

Adele made this 23 year-old, wide-eyed young man feel like he could tap into the idealism of teens and that those teens would make a difference. Her well-founded and significant recommendations to me that day were done in such a friendly and non-threatening way. She changed the arc of YVC in that very first meeting by suggesting I consider partnering with some existing, credible organization. That was not easy advice for me to hear as a budding social entrepreneur wanting to start his own organization and be his own boss. Of course, Adele was right. Forging a partnership with the United Way Volunteer Center a few months later was a key step in bringing the dream to reality.

We continued strategizing like that right up until her untimely passing. YVC will miss Adele’s spot-on instinct.

What I personally will miss the most is her unwavering faith in my dream—a dream we worked to realize for over 26 years. A dream that teams of youth from all walks of life would have the opportunity to find the joy and power of serving. It is a dream that Adele had well before our meeting, of course, but she said nothing of the sort to me. She was “crazy for the idea” and wanted to “help in any way to make it happen.” Adele Hall knew that gloomy, fall Kansas day back in 1986 that she was empowering yet another youth volunteer to make a difference in this world. I am eternally grateful to Adele for that and committed to paying it forward for other young people through the program we both came to love so much—Youth Volunteer Corps.

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