Seeing a Future of Hope through Volunteering
By Nicole Richmond
Upon entering the main gym of Evansville’s Dream Center, the wall reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Essentially, that serves as the essence of the Dream Center as it provides services to nourish the minds, hearts and bodies of local children. Through Youth Resources’ Teen Advisory Council, I have had the opportunity to witness the loving care the Dream Center provides through its after-school care, homework help, nutritious meals and faith formation.
Many of these children need the support of the Dream Center because of a lack in another area of their lives. They might not have the luxury to go home to caregivers or receive healthy meals after school.
Around 3:00 p.m. each day the Dream Center transports students from schools in the Evansville area to its facility on West Morgan Avenue. Once there, kids receive a snack and time to play (and release some built up energy) in the large gym. Throughout the evening they also participate in ministry time and eat a hot meal prepared by the friendly and generous volunteer meal teams.
Time and time again I am drawn to volunteer at the Dream Center. Even though I’m relatively new, the Dream Center always makes me feel welcomed and appreciated. The kids always radiate their joy of life and contagious energy. I cannot help but smile!
I had the opportunity to participate in both their elementary school nights (held every Monday, Thursday and Friday) and middle school nights (every Wednesday). They also provide the same services for high school aged students every Tuesday. I have connected with these kids through simple games of hide-and-seek, shooting basketballs and making cards for the nursing home. One girl performed for me with her ukulele. Each experience has shown me the power of genuine love and support in building a future for the next generation.
Overall, I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve at the Dream Center through YR. I strongly believe that the Dream Center impacts the children, staff and volunteers alike. With their efforts, the Dream Center truly provides hope and a future to Evansville children.
Youth Resources has introduced me to a whole new appreciation for service to others and a deep love of working with kids. My volunteer work has also helped me in discerning plans for my own future as I plan to pursue a degree in pediatric speech therapy with which I could continue my work with children.
Youth Resources’ partnership with the Dream Center began in 2012. TAC members have regularly volunteered with DC’s afterschool programs ever since, totaling over 600 hours of service. To learn more about the Dream Center’s awesome work on behalf of kids, visit their website.
About the Blogger
My name is Nicole Richmond. I’m a senior at Mater Dei High School and will attend the University of Tennessee in the fall. I love being a part of Youth Resources. This is my first year as a member of the Teen Advisory Council, and I’ve been involved with TEENPOWER for two years.