Picture: left to right: Gary Brewster, Megan Maiers, Faith Huskey, JoBeth Hill, Bisha Harrington, Charlie McAdams.
In September, members of the Y12FCU did a great job of bringing food to credit union branches to feed hungry kids. Seventeen bins of food were collected and taken to Knoxville’s Thrive. Kids that come to Thrive spend about 700 hours in different programs every year. Additionally, they serve 260 kids dinner each night. This is making an impact.
One of the things that I found interesting about Thrive’s programs is the age of the volunteer. Many of those working in the kitchen, serving the kids meals, running the programs, mentoring and tutoring were in their teens and twenties. With further discussion out in the community, we have found that a younger generation is seeing the importance of serving others. Some may call them Generation Z. When informally asked or officially polled, this generation overwhelming says that they are interested in volunteering. They form supportive social structures around helping others. These teens and twenties that I have seen serving seem to have formed tight bonds with each other and encourage each other. They are building community.
This is greatly encouraging to me as I know that torch passing doesn’t start late in life, but it is a gradual activity that starts when people are young and can work alongside an older generation. At Thrive I see three generations at work. An older mentoring generation, a middle teen and twenty generation serving and the youngest generation that may be recipients right now but are next on deck.
Any age, if you would like to volunteer at Thrive you may contact JoBeth at jobeth@ helpusthrive.com.