“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say ‘because of you I didn’t give up’.
– Rio, Game Loft youth lifetime achievement volunteer with over 1,000 hours of service
To paraphrase Plutarch — “Youth are not vessels to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
When young people are alight with curiosity, passion, and creativity they are a tremendous resource. At the Game Loft we encourage young people to make contributions on every level. They are valued for who they are, they are seen as resources for what they can contribute, they have meaningful roles in the program that they can successfully complete, they are engaged because they are not “clients” who receive services but “owners” who shape and foster our success. Young people create our community. Each year some 70 Game Loft youth contribute over 10 hours a year to volunteer work in the program and the community. This consistently totals to over 2000 hours a year. Teens work as program aides, mentors to younger kids, run activities, help in the kitchen as trained kitchen aides, shovel snow for neighbors and take on community service projects. We encourage them to adopt a lifelong habit of volunteering.
We treat our kids not so much as the teens they are but as the adults they will become.