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BBYO Summer Blog

Inside Scoop on the New England Center for Homeless Veterans

Posted on 06/24/2014 @ 06:00 PM

Today at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans we started by helping to clear out a cluttered storage room full of supplies for the veterans. Some of the group went off and cleaned trash cans, other moved laptops, and two even moved a bed. We were really there for anything they needed. The cleaning, while hard work, ended up being fun and a great bonding experience for all the teens.

The feelings of the group seemed to be positive all around; even the people cleaning trash cans felt that they were doing a great thing once veterans personally came up to them and thanked them. Everyone was excited to complete the first day of real work at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. Although the work was not direct, it really felt like we were making an impact. Personally, we couldn’t wait to get a chance to talk with the veterans about their experiences, which we did during lunch.

Everyone seemed to meet very different people and everyone got something different from each conversation. We spoke with a man who told us about his life outside of the army and the benefits and struggles he also had. He has lived with significant disabilities for thirty-six years, and has only recently filed for disability with the government. He directed us to another man who was a highly decorated colonel in Vietnam, Joseph. Joseph now has dementia, but luckily he still has a perfect recollection of his experience in Vietnam. One common thing we found in our group was that everyone was very passionate about wanting to help the veterans and bring what we are learning back home with us.

Ross Abrash (Eastern Region) and Jake Victor (Great Midwest Region)

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IMPACT: Boston Day 2

Posted on 06/23/2014 @ 09:00 PM

Looking around the room this morning at breakfast, participants were still on a high from yesterday's excitement of arriving, meeting new people and making new friends. But once the buses returned from their service sites this afternoon, the atmosphere completely changed.

After lunch, everyone's energy was high, as the teens were active within their circle groups. Participants talked about what their experiences at their service sites were and engaged in team-building exercises. Going from activity to activity, I saw the excitement of each participant build as they soon discovered that what they would be doing at Impact would have an outlasting effect on their lives and the communities they're helping.

This is one of the most selfless groups of teenagers I've ever seen at a BBYO program, and I couldn't be prouder to work with such an inspiring group of people. Being in BBYO for four years, I've experienced the ups and downs of this incredible organization, but I was never able to experience the influence that IMPACT: Boston has on the participants.

After finishing my first year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I decided that I wanted to staff IMPACT: Boston to understand the incredible things that I've heard about this program. I couldn't be happier with the decision that I made to be a Madricha. I look forward to spending the next two weeks bonding with participants, doing volunteer work in Boston, and truly finding the meaning of giving back to one's community.

By Samantha Dorenfeld

IMPACT: Boston Madricha

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Welcome to IMPACT: Boston 2014!

Posted on 06/22/2014 @ 08:00 PM

We were beyond excited to welcome the participants to IMPACT: Boston today!

Each teen came excited to spend the next two weeks at Brandeis University and were anxious to begin making a difference in the Boston community.

After settling in and getting to know each other, participants heard from the Teen Coordinators to kick off the opening program, in which they were asked to describe why they do community service. After writing their initial reason, teens began thinking about this question more in depth. Teens will continue to develop their answers to this question throughout the program.

The room surged with energy as participants were given envelopes containing the service sites they would be attending throughout the program. Teens discovered the details of their service work as well as the other participants that would be joining them.

The IMPACT: Boston Director explained the importance of the program, giving additional meaning to the two weeks at Brandeis with the hopes that teens return to their home communities ready to continue the work started in Boston. Though the work we will complete over the next two weeks remains important and valuable, its crucial to remember the impact we can make when we return home.

We learned that participating in IMPACT is making an investment towards furthering activism and service among the participants in the future. One thought that truly stuck with me is the perspective we can gain from the people we are helping and working with at our sites. If teens leave the program ready to form relationships and make connections to people in their communities, then the program will have been successful. Something as simple as learning the name of your school janitor and starting a conversation can begin to change how we view out communities. The program is far more than just direct service; it gives us the opportunity to leave with a different perspective of the communities around us, of our home chapters and regions, and our role in bettering the world.

After such an engaging discussion on the importance of service, participants set a kavanah (intention) for the rest of the program. Everyone is eager to experience Day One at their service sites tomorrow!

After a meaningful first day, we can’t wait to see where this program goes in the next 11 days!

By Shea Northfield (Evergreen Region) and Cameron Smith (North Texas Oklahoma Region)

IMPACT: Boston 2014 Teen Coordinators

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IMPACT: Boston 2014 coming soon!

Posted on 05/07/2014 @ 05:00 PM

IMPACT: Boston 2014 is coming soon! Make sure to check back here for blog updates and below for pictures!

Here's to an epic #BBYOSummer2014

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