Yvonne Campanella of Chandler says she has seen "amazing" changes in her daughter Hailey’s confidence since she joined the Youth Volunteer Corps last year.
At a recent awards banquet, 15-year-old Hailey even volunteered to hand out scholarships when the emcee failed to show. As a result, Hailey developed a better attitude and acquired leadership skills.
Sarah Aubrey watches such growth as youth services manager at the Volunteer Center in Phoenix. Aubrey says volunteers also "learn new skills, they meet people and they learn about their community. Volunteering gives them a different perspective on the world." Teens involved in the Corps make week and weekend commitments to projects across the Valley.
Danielle and Sarah Shoffner of Peoria — ages 16 and 15, respectively — remember their first project: Closing up chinks in buildings at Pioneer Village. Their second volunteer experience has them holding and playing with babies.
"I really like working with kids," says Danielle, embracing 17-month-old Erika Lindsay. "Volunteering makes me feel good."
Hailey had volunteered before, through school, but her parents wanted their daughter to experience a broader swath of the community. "It is important to my husband and myself that our children give back," says Yvonne Campanella.
Hailey has read to charges at a day care center; worked at the Chilies and Chocolate Festival at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix; and sorted medical supplies that are boxed and shipped to Third World countries with Project Cure. She’ll volunteer again this summer.
Fellow Chandler resident Elizabeth Do, 16, will also donate her time to the youth corps this summer. Do says she likes seeing how she can "positively impact the lives of others."
This is the first time fees are being charged to participate, but Aubrey says scholarships are available. The fees cover T-shirts, lunch/snacks and project materials.
Youth Volunteer Corps summer opportunities for kids 11 to 18 are June 4 to July 22 across the Valley. Cost is $20 per week or $150 for the summer. Information: (602) 263-9736, Ext. 874, or www.volunteer phoenix.org.