Volunteer Spotlight: Angie's List
This month we're shining the spotlight on an awesome group of volunteers from Angie's List!
How would you describe Outreach to someone new?
Outreach is an oasis for displaced youth. It’s not just a pitstop for deodorant and socks, but rather a full-fledged safe space where young people in need can fulfill their hygiene, lifestyle, and interpersonal needs.
What is a memorable moment from your day of service with us?
Our whole team was touched by the “Just Get a Job” simulation. We come from places of greater privilege than the youths who frequent Outreach, and working through some of the obstacles they face was shocking to us. The exercise demonstrated just how insurmountable homelessness or displacement can be and how valuable places like Outreach can be to these youths.
What is something you learned while volunteering with us?
We were surprised how much Outreach helps youths deal with government agencies. It’s something that may have never crossed our minds. Navigating the (sometimes not-so-helpful) government offices to obtain personal identification would be daunting for anyone, let alone a young person without guidance. A service like this is invaluable to youths trying to find a job, housing, etc – everything requires identification!
What values and/or lessons would you pass along to someone interested in volunteering at Outreach?
Everyone deserves respect and not just a one-time handout. The facilities and community available to the Outreach youths build them up from the inside out, instilling confidence in their abilities to succeed and overcome. The youths have a place to go, friends, and tools to get ahead. Outreach offers a lot more than a care package for visiting youths.
What surprised you the most about volunteering with us?
The Outreach facility feels like a college dorm or student union. The youths are comfortable, smiling, hanging out, and enjoying themselves. It is not a place of shame or embarrassment – they are safe with the Outreach staff and their fellow youths.
Any additional thoughts from your experience?
We look forward to coming back for our next volunteer outing and many more in the future. It’s our first volunteering experience where the entire team agreed that we should go back, again and again.
To get your group involved, sign up for one of our many Group Volunteer Opportunities!
Megan Rhea is the Volunteer Manager at Outreach.