Volunteering is so important to our community, and the younger people start the more likely they will want to continue volunteering throughout their adult lives.
HandsOn Jacksonville was lucky to have sixteen teens from the South Carolina James Island Presbyterian Church youth group come to volunteer last week. They cleaned up the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, sorted donations for Habitat Restore, picked up trash leading into the Joe Carlucci Sisters Creek Park and Boat Ramp, and served up some hot food at the Clara White Mission.
The positive impact on the community is great, HandsOn Jacksonville project leader Angie Greene said. The donations the volunteers sorted at Habitat Restore are sold to raise money for homes for people.
“It was a great feeling to sell something and know it would help someone directly,” she said.
They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty when they collected over 26 bags of trash at the park and boat ramp, one of the project leaders, Jessica Smith said.
These teens were more than happy to help.
“As the group worked at the zoo, visitors would stop and ask what they were doing and why,” said Greene, “a group member would respond with such pride and confidence that it made the visitor feel good and happy about visiting our zoo.”
It’s so good to see people coming to lend a hand for a weekend. It’s easy to want to spend your weekend hanging out at home after a busy week, but that’s why it’s so important to start making a difference no matter how young you are.
“Involving youth in volunteering sets a mindset of the value of service,” said Smith, “they know instinctively that they have made a difference when the work is done and that warm fuzzy feeling very important to cultivate at an early age.”