I get a lot of joy out of what I do for work. It isn't always easy, but what job is?
I work for a non profit organization called Hands4Hope.
What do we do?
Simply put: we are a youth run organization that strongly believes in service learning - that is: learning through serving others. Our youth members volunteer for several outreaches a month, they also develop projects and fundraisers for other agencies serving those in need.
Through the process of volunteering, planning fundraisers (they do it all - including the marketing & PR, contacting businesses, getting donations, etc), and working together with their peers has taught many of them life long lessons - many of which some adults haven't ever had the opportunity to learn. If you want to see a list of last year's successes, click here. This year's is even more impressive! :)
In the last few weeks - I have gotten to work really closely with our Youth Board. They are the leaders at their high schools of the Hands4Hope Clubs there. They are from 4 different high schools in the area - and they work closely with each other and their clubs to make a difference.
In July, we did a team build day at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center. We learned about our strengths as a person and how we can effectively use them in a team setting - and we also learned important lessons about leadership - trust, respect, encouragement, etc.
Last week, we spent 3 days camping (in bunk houses). It was our annual Leadership Retreat. Here, we have break out sessions with adults who have years of experience and expertise in their fields training them on how to get better at what they do, and we have several team building exercises.
The kids get close - they open up to each other about their life experiences, and so much more. Many of them are meeting for the first time before this retreat - and by the end of it - they've seen tears, cheered each other on, and shared a lot about themselves. It's a great experience to be a part of - and I feel like I have learned a lot about myself from each of them. What a great group of truly dedicated and inspiring youth - the future is in good hands with them!
Getting everyone on the mat - a lot harder than it looks ;)
They worked together to make dinner - and it was pretty good. Day 2 of our Retreat last week.
It's deceiving, but the course is about 35-40 feet up.
Our Executive Director and I participate in all of the high ropes team builds with them - this one was difficult, but a lot of fun. Hard to tell - but I am in the air jumping from platform to platform here. :)
Figuring out how to face a challenge together with out talking...
Ever had anyone lead you through a forest while you're blindfolded? Takes a lot of trust.
Of course... we did more than just ropes courses and challenges - but these are the fun pictures to share :)
I did this same course last year with the kids, i've done one in San Francisco near the Golden Gate Bridge, we've done a zip line course in Kauai, and in Juneau, Alaska - and - TL and I did a high ropes challenge in Switzerland as well (that one was much higher!) I love the challenge of the ropes - and the heights - gets my adrenaline going!
It was a fantastic Retreat!
PS. if you're interested in supporting Hands4Hope and the awesome things are youth are doing, purchase a button on my blog - ALL of the money goes directly to Hands4Hope.