We’re escaping the snow and ice up north to head to the desert for this month’s Spotlight! YVC of Washington County is located in the southeast corner of Utah, just miles from Zion National Park.
Jennifer Byington, an AmeriCorps member and Team Leader with YVC of Washington County, gives us a tour of what it’s like to volunteer there.
YVC of Washington County offers several projects each month during the school year both on weekends and after school. Jennifer says that the most popular project is the St. George Children’s Museum.
“They always have fun different projects to do every time we come,” she says. “Maryellen the Director is so excited when we come. She loves to have us help out.”
Youth Volunteers help with all kinds of projects at the museum, including facilitating science projects with magnicubes, which are magnetic cubes that do different things (with motors, lights, fans, wheels, etc.) that you can build amazing things with. They also helped decorate for the holidays with giant wreaths.
The museum gives each volunteer a family pass after volunteering to play in the museum, which is a great benefit for not only Youth Volunteers but also the rest of their family, especially younger siblings.
Beyond the children’s museum, YVC of Washington County helps at all kinds of other projects too.
“The best thing about serving with Washington County YVC is that there is a lot to choose from,” says Ashley Plancarte, a Youth Volunteer with YVC of Washington County and a member of YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board. “Even though our YVC is little you still have many options.”
YVC of Washington County also helps at projects like ringing the bell for Salvation Army during the holidays, cleaning parks, and volunteering at the local county fair. Everywhere they go, they get compliments from community members who are so excited to see youth making a positive impact in their community.
Jennifer says that when they helped ring bells with Salvation Army, “One person even had to take a picture with us and came back and donated twice because he was so excited and amazed that there were youth out helping the community!”
YVC of Washington County is unique among the YVC Network because it’s just 45 minutes away from YVC of Iron County, and the two are even hosted by the same organization. The two sites hold joint projects a few times throughout the year, including helping at an air show together last summer.
“The community knows who we are and calls us when they can use Youth Volunteers,” Jennifer says.
Not only does the community benefit, but the Youth Volunteers do too.
“I love making an impact on a person who is in need of a little bit of joy in their life!” Ashley says. “Volunteering is such an amazing thing, and you never regret giving your time to others. It doesn’t hurt to give a little every now and then.”
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