Volunteering is a way to stay active during the summer | PostIndependent.com

Volunteering is a way to stay active during the summer

Debbie Wilde
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Are you wondering what kids are up to for the summer? I know there are plenty of parents frustrated with the child who is hanging around the house, plugged into technology and tuned out to the rest of the world. “How can I get my kid to do something productive?” they ask. Let me share the unique thing some young people and parents are doing this summer: They are volunteering.

Annick Pruett and Susan Garcia are both moms who want to invest in their communities to make them great places to raise a child. They also want their children to find meaning in something beyond their own wants and wishes. Annick and Susan signed up to be participants in the 2009 YouthZone Kiss-n-Squeal Fundraiser, but they didn’t do it alone. Each mom is sharing this experience with their daughter.

Rachel Sobke and Abril Loya will be seniors in high school. They have teemed up to be another entrant in the Kiss-n-Squeal contest.

In it’s 19th year, the Kiss-n-Squeal contest is among the most challenging volunteer jobs anywhere. For six weeks, volunteers create and execute every possible idea they can to raise the most votes (i.e. money) to win the honor of kissing a real live pig. It is all done in fun to gather funds that will account for 10% of the budget of the YouthZone organization. The goal this year is $90,000. When these dedicated volunteers come together with the support of the YouthZone staff and board and community businesses and individuals, and tally up that many dollars, they know they have done something incredible.

Kids love to be a part of something incredible. Often the “jobs” we want them to be motivated by are just busy work or things we don’t want to do ourselves. Everyone likes the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal that stretches what we imagined possible.

Annick is the President of the Rifle Chamber of Commerce. She saw this as an opportunity to teach her daughter, Makenna age 10, about philanthropy. Susan is the Mental Health Coordinator for the Western Division of the Division of Youth Corrections. She has a close view of the needs of kids and the importance of YouthZone’s role. So she and Cissy, age 8, are dressing up in pink and having fun doing a serious job.

Rachel and Abril decided to participate because they know teens who have been helped by YouthZone. These two young ladies are also members of the steering committee of YouthZone’s Project TITAN which recruits, trains and matches youth to sit on nonprofit boards of directors.

Want to get your child off the couch this summer? Find a volunteer opportunity that is fun and meaningful. There are many around. There are still many ways to help with the Kiss-n-Squeal event. Give us a call at 945-9300 or 920-5720 or 625-3141. Think about taking on the challenge of being in the contest with your child next year. It is a guaranteed memory maker.

Debbie Wilde is Executive Director for YouthZone.

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