Three Hours a Week With Kids Can Change Lives

“There are huge differences in the kids, not only physically, but also in the way they interact with us as directors and volunteers from semester to semester.” Mondse Ortiz is a co-director of Hand n Hand, one of the oldest programs at the YES House. She describes how many children have been transformed by the program and grow more sociable, happy and open after every interaction. She told me about one child of about four years who has severe Autism and was very quiet, only able to interact with a single volunteer the first semester Mondse remembered seeing him. Now however, he is currently always excited to talk with and enjoys being around all of the Hand n Hand mentors. This program is extremely influential to these young kids, and making sure they have someone there on Saturdays to spend time with them makes a huge difference in the way they see people. As foster youth, the participants in this program have a difficult enough time feeling normal and wanted, and so being able to rely on volunteers for support and kindness is something that they celebrate outwardly. Mondse cherishes when children ask about college and the dorms at HSU, because she can see how her presence has inspired them to become successful students in the future and is happy to hear kids get excited about going to university in the future.

HnH volunteers with kids at FlipforKids, a gym where volunteers provide service by having fun

HnH volunteers with kids at FlipforKids, a gym where volunteers provide service by having fun!