YR Stories: Jessica Fehrenbacher
Over 12 years ago, I started work at Youth Resources. I have been working with Make a Difference (MAD) grants since my first day. The Make A Difference Grants program is the beginning of the Youth Resources story. The grants allow kids as young as kindergarten through twelfth grade to see problems (in their school, neighborhood, community) and figure out ways to make the situation better.
The ways that the young people have given back over the years is astounding. From serving countless meals in shelters, to writing letters and sending care packages to those in the military, to putting together backpacks for foster children. The focus on serving has been at the heart of every MAD project. Some projects have taken place just once while other groups have come back year after year to continue their projects.
To see the projects take place is a rewarding experience. The looks on the faces of young people when they get “it” means so much. By “it,” I mean they realize how good it feels to share your skills and talents with others and that giving of oneself is such an amazing gift. One of Youth Resources’ goals is to engage young people to have an active voice in their communities. The MAD grants were the start of the Youth Resources story and have continued over 30 years later.
In my time period with Youth Resources, I have grown beyond measure. This organization has helped me find my voice. Being servant oriented is everywhere that I look at YR, and I have become more of servant leader because of this job. From our kids helping each other at our camps, my co-workers pitching in no matter what the task, to our board members fighting for our mission.
There is no better feeling than being a part of an organization that is constantly striving to make others and our community better. The friendships that I have developed with co-workers and volunteers will last a lifetime. It is also so inspiring to see the young people that have been involved in our programs grow up and continue to serve in the community. These young people are truly living the mission of our organization. I am better person because of Youth Resources, and I will forever be grateful for that.