Connecting with Youth: One Volunteer's Story of Teaching and Learning
And they’re not the only ones.
Girls in the Game’s formidable volunteer force matches this irresistible enthusiasm, swing for swing and cheer for cheer. This year alone, volunteers contributed more than 8,000 hours of time, talent and compassion to the girls and young women in Girls in the Game’s year-round programs.
Girls in the Game is a nonprofit organization that provides and promotes sports & fitness opportunities, nutrition & health education and leadership development programs for girls throughout Chicagoland. This takes a lot of helping hands from community leaders and role models. Luckily, volunteers are more than willing to step up to the plate.
When Allison started interning at Girls in the Game, she had no prior experience working with kids. However, that didn’t lessen her desire to help girls acquire new life and fitness skills. She admitted to feeling reserved at the outset but took her situation as a challenge.
“Some of my favorite memories from Girls in the Game are when both I and the girls got to try new things,” Allison shares. “Certain things that I thought they would never want to do, they were completely up for. Half the time I was right in there having the learning experience with them, doing things outside of my comfort zone.”
The new experiences brought her closer to the girls as they dribbled the basketball, talked about healthy relationships or played food pyramid jeopardy together for the first time. Allison learned that if given a unique challenge, the girls would invariably meet it. It was an eye-opening inspiration for Allison as well, given her initial hesitation.
“It is a hard job to connect with youth and to keep them engaged in the lessons you are trying to teach,” Allison admits. “However, I learned that if I had that challenge, I would rise to it.”
Girls and young women are clearly benefiting from spending time with caring, positive female and male adult role models. But, as Allison’s experience shows, the benefits go both ways.
Rain or shine, summer through winter, there
are countless ways to get involved. With more than 2,500 girls enrolled
in Girls in the Game programs each year, we simply couldn’t meet the
demand without the dedication and energy of our many volunteers.