Amanda started volunteering with us when her mom was mentoring a family that was living at Hope Gardens. She developed relationships with the kids and would meet up with them once a week, or every two weeks, and do homework, take them to dinner, or watch them if their mom had to work. For her senior project, she thought it would be a fun idea to stay with Inter-Faith to plan activities for the kids during the monthly Community Dinner nights for families in our housing programs.
“That way I could see them, and they would have a familiar face every month,” she said. “When some families first move in, it’s a little hard with younger kids to help them feel welcomed and included. By being there every month, I was hoping I could make the transition a little easier for them.”
Every month she planned an activity.
“We did crafts: I would bring in materials and give them some sort of idea of what they should make. I brought in short stories about women during Women’s History Month. I brought a story about Martin Luther King, Jr. during Black History Month. And I would tailor the activity to be around that topic.”
Her favorite part of volunteering? “Building relationships with [the kids] and getting to know them and watch them grow up over the school year. Seeing their smiling faces when they came down to Lei’s Place.”
After college Amanda definitely wants to be involved with community-based organizations and community-building programs, because that is something that has been a big part of her life growing up in Ambler, she says.
“Taking that time to connect with your community by getting involved with things like Hope Gardens helps you feel more connected.”