For almost 20 years, Middle School teacher Katrien Vance has shared an experience with students that takes them out of the classroom and into the community. Twice each month, students, teachers, and family members help out at the Nelson County Food Pantry, either stocking shelves or bagging groceries for distribution. Many of the other volunteers are retirees, so they are thrilled to have energetic young people with strong backs assisting. Even in 2020, the Middle Schoolers continue to volunteer, masked and outside, with as much enthusiasm as ever.
During the pandemic, the need to address food insecurity has become even more pressing. Neighbors helping neighbors is part of the solution. And, while volunteering helps our community, the students receive a host of benefits also. In The Washington Post article “Volunteering Can Give Kids Purpose in Uncertain Times,” a conversation with psychotherapist Akua Boateng is shared as follows: “…volunteering can also be a positive component of their developmental process — helping them understand their place in the social fabric — and is associated with a higher sense of self-esteem.” In the course of volunteering, children “develop the skills to think of the world outside of themselves,” she says, which lays the foundation for empathy, compassion and engagement. You can read the article here: https://bit.ly/WashingtonPostBenefitsofVolunteering