The Franklin-Southampton Area United Way just wrapped up its second year hosting the United for Impact summer program designed to help students in grades 9-12 enhance their leadership abilities, build teamwork skills, and create a positive change in their community. Eight students representing six local schools learned the importance of community service and volunteerism by completing hands-on service projects at United Way partner agencies.
Projects included purchasing and assembling school supply kits for local students, volunteering at the Franklin Cooperative Ministry, cleaning at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, planting sunflowers and washing vehicles at the Children’s Center. Volunteers from Solenis/Eastman/Arkema and the Bronco Federal Credit Union joined the class to paint camping cabins for the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at Camp Darden.
Students learned the value of working in a team-based environment and gained a valuable combination of skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. Activities emphasized budgeting, utilizing community resources, and the impact of volunteering.
“I learned that, whether you see the impact of your work or not, volunteering to help other people is always worth it,” said Ella Brady, a homeschool student. “Before United for Impact, I did not know that Franklin had so many opportunities for serving.”
Members of the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way Board of Directors hosted a round-table luncheon with the group to discuss their experiences during the class and what they learned about volunteerism. Bryce Simms, a student at Southampton High School, said that “you should volunteer because you meet more people and gain more knowledge about the community.”
Carneisha Whitehead of Franklin High School remarked that she enjoyed volunteering at the Children’s Center because they were able to talk to the children and help them learn to plant flowers. “I also learned that there are many ways to help others,” said Whitehead. Southampton Academy student Christian Moore described the volunteer experience as something “that makes everybody happy.”
At the end of the session, participants earned a community service certificate, a letter of recommendation from the United Way Board of Directors and a list of available opportunities to continue serving as a catalyst for positive change in the community.
Like all United for Impact volunteers, community members are encouraged to assist the United Way at events throughout the year. Anyone that is interested in joining the list of volunteers or coordinating a project for a church, business or organization should contact Trish Tsitsera at (757) 569-8929.
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