For many middle school and high school students, Spring Break is time to head out on a family vacation or to just take it easy for a week; but for about 20 youth from Brainerd Area Catholic Churches (BACC), this year it was time spent giving back to the community.
Back in September, Bridges of Hope sent a letter to our local church youth groups (as many as we could find names and addresses for), offering to have a representative come to speak to their group about social enterprise/thrift/volunteerism and inviting them to volunteer at Common Goods. In December, Erin (BACC Youth coordinator) contacted our AmeriCorps VISTA Natasha, whose year of service includes assisting us in developing our volunteer program at Common Goods. Erin pitched the idea of having the youth do some service over Spring Break. It was exactly the kind of project we were hoping to launch!
This was our first larger-scale volunteer project, but we had a sense of how much work there was to be done and had accordingly scheduled the students into smaller groups and into multiple shifts. However, during the first day, we quickly realized that these students worked FAST–and that there were more students available than we had shifts or capacity for, so we happily “shared” many of them with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore during the rest of the week.
Working in shifts of about three students and one adult, the BACC youth volunteers started out cleaning the back rooms where we process donations: organizing items, cleaning the walls, scrubbing floors, etc. Then they moved on to cleaning walls and dusting items on the sales floor, and finally assisted with hanging and steaming clothes, sweeping and mopping the floor, cleaning the windows inside and out, putting clothes away, reorganizing books and shoes, and other special projects as they arose.
By the end of the day on Wednesday, the youth were all finished and set to head out to a pizza party, and Common Goods looked GREAT.
All together, the youth from Brainerd Area Catholic Churches collectively volunteered at Common Goods for a total of 80 hours! Many of the projects the students worked on are the kinds of jobs that need to be done every week at Common Goods; and, as one of our staff put it, “it was awesome to be able to have the students really help spruce things up!”
Thanks, BACC Youth, for your spirit of service over Spring Break!
To learn more about Common Goods, visit our website, or contact Natasha at 218.825.7682 for more information about volunteering.