Updated: Nov 4, 2020
It took us nearly fifteen minutes to unpack all the snacks and the bulk-buy boxes and collected from United Way of King County, ATLAS Workbase (home of YPOS), and a couple of Last Tuesday Happy Hours–granola bars, and fruit cups, and pretzels oh my! We were all visibly energized by the abundance and what it would mean for the youth who would receive these much-needed snacks.
As we prepared an assembly line, volunteers gravitated to workstreams that reflected their strengths. Some volunteers were clearly ready to get decorating and soon we had paper bags designed with beautiful Pacific Northwest landscapes and shimmering patterns that made the “Fuel Your Future” decal feel more inspiring; elementary school is over fifteen years behind me, but glitter, markers, and stickers still manage to delight.
Other volunteers focused on writing inspirational notes to accompany the snacks. The exercise prompted us to take a moment and think back to our own time at school. For many of us at the event, high school was centered on getting good grades and doing well in extracurricular activities to present a good college application. In contrast, Friends of Youth are trying to help youth who have dropped out of high school for various reasons get their GED and hopefully continue their education to build a brighter future for themselves. The notes we wrote were brief but focused on staying positive and letting the students know that persevering to graduate will be ultimately worth it.
While people divided up into groups for decorating the bags and writing inspirational notes, everyone wanted to help put the snacks into the bags. There was a feeling of knowing some youth would benefit from what they put in that bag that gave people a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It was something they felt they needed to do.
It was quite moving to see all 50 bags along the perimeter of the bar area, decorated and stuffed with any array of snacks. It was fitting that we held our event at a place called Optimism—between our motivational notes and comfort food, we ultimately wanted to pass onto them a sense of optimism about their future and let them know we’re are cheering them on from afar.
YP Impact is a budding community of young professionals with an interest in giving back to the community we live, work and play in. If you’re interested in joining the community or just hearing more, visit this page and sign up to follow along.