On the first Saturday in April, it was blustery, rainy and promised snow! Saturdays are a busy day for us, there are usually over one-hundred student volunteers at the factory helping us inspect, process and organize tons of donations. In the middle of what we like to think of as controlled chaos, in come Alexia, Kelvin and Victoria with a ton of their own donations. They had collected all this wonderful stuff for local children in-need as a part of their SKILLS USA competition at Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School.
Some context/background about the competition:
The SkillsUSA Community Service Project is a competition for SkillsUSA whose purpose is to evaluate local chapter activities that benefit the community and to recognize excellence and professionalism in the area of community service. The competition contains three portions with the donation drive being just one piece. The team must also create a detailed notebook outlining the project and then host a 7-minute presentation for the judges. The Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School team will be competing at the SkillsUSA Massachusetts State Leadership and Skills Conference from April 28 through April 30th in Marlborough, MA. The team hopes to qualify to compete at the 52nd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky from June 20th through June 24th.
Jim Stevens our CEO met with the mighty trio to talk about their experiences and was flabbergasted (his words) to be presented with a substantial check, monies they had raised to help us process more gifts packages. Jim told this Team of Youth Philanthropists how impressed, amazed and so very proud of them he was. That they had understood the GiftsToGive needs of “gently-used items, new items and cash.
With over 40,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, the need is overwhelming and while donations of gently used clothing, books and toys are always needed, so are new items such as underwear and socks and toothbrushes and toothpaste, items that need to be new and then, of course, operating monies. Even with no payroll and an all volunteers work force; occupancy costs, utilities, insurance and supplies were never ending.
When we asked Jim what his reaction was, he had this to say – “We see a lot of students every year, last year it was over 12,000. Every once in a while we meet an extraordinary student, then of course there is the rare and exceptional student. What blows me away is that today, three students that we know to be terrific young people and regular student volunteers put together a project and from start to finish completed it. That Victoria, Alexia and Kelvin came to understand through their doing, the power of giving and service. That these remarkable young people understood our four basic mission critical needs; gently-used inventory, new items, cash and volunteer labor. A remarkable thing!”
Jim closed by saying – “What we do is simple, but it is not easy. I walked away from my meeting with Kelvin, Alexia and Victoria being inspired to be better and to do more. That they are, for all of us, bright and shining lights and quite possibly the great hope of their generation.”