Building a community feeling and camaraderie among youths inspires a sense of purpose, place and value. Through our program “Great Initiatives Volunteering Everywhere” or “G.I.V.E.” for short, Youth & Family Services of Haddam-Killingworth (YFSHK) aims to give middle school students the opportunity to participate in projects dedicated to improving our community.
A huge challenge for youths is the feeling that they aren’t valued – either among friends, their family or even in the community. As they approach teen years, a shift from being completely dependent on parents or caregivers in childhood years to finding some level of autonomy as they move towards young adulthood can be a challenge.
The G.I.V.E. program aims to empower middle school students through the development of critical skills. During the course of the program, students are responsible for planning and implementing community service projects, with some guidance and direction from the group’s leader.
Building Social Competencies
Through participation, students will be working closely with their peers, adults and mentors as well as members of the community. Here, they can build lasting relationships across the generations and improve social competencies that may be valuable in their further academic and/or professional life. Honing of esteemed leadership skills such as planning and decision-making, interpersonal competence, cultural competence, resistance skills and peaceful conflict resolution are especially useful as they begin to think about what they want to be in the future.
G.I.V.E. Success Thus Far
The G.I.V.E. program has proven to be successful in a number of community projects throughout the years. Past projects include collecting holiday gifts for underprivileged children, gathering items for a local animal shelter, crafting blankets and flower arrangements for a local senior center, as well as cleanup workdays at the nearby Parmalee Farm. Another recent event was the annual Pumpkin Run, a 5K event for the whole family including face painting, Halloween crafts, Kids Fun Run and a scenic course to benefit YFSHK.
What Our Students Have To Say
Don’t take our word for it! Hear what our participating students have to say about why they joined the G.I.V.E. program.
“The reason why I joined this club (G.I.V.E.) is because I want to change the community and help out at our school. I want to be able to share good ideas to the world. I want to become a better person to learn kind things and bettering things for the future”
“I joined G.I.V.E. because I want to make a difference in my community”
“I joined G.I.V.E. because I love giving back to the community and helping people who are not as fortunate as me”
The G.I.V.E. program meets after school hours on Thursdays from 3:00 pm-4:15 pm at the Haddam-Killingworth Middle School. If you would like to know more about the G.I.V.E. program, about our youth programs or would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.