By Stuart Scott – Marketing/Public Relations Intern
As some of you may know, our mission here at Heart House is to provide three things to the at-risk youth of Vickery Meadow – safety, education and opportunity. While it may not seem like it, each one of these items is equally important to the future of a child. Think about it: if a child is provided with education and safety, but has no opportunity to succeed, they stand a small chance of doing so. Similarly, if a child receives an education and has a significant amount of opportunities, but exists in an unsafe environment, his/her chances of success are severely diminished, as well.
Yes, it’s clear that Heart House’s holistic and all-encompassing approach is the most effective manner of serving Vickery Meadow’s underprivileged children. It makes for extremely rewarding results and radical changes in the lives of our students. But painting with such broad strokes also means that Heart House takes on three times the responsibility, and needs three times the donations, volunteer hours, employees, and physical space with which to serve our children.
Despite the severity of the job that Heart House has taken on, we are constantly strengthened and reinforced by the many success stories of our students. We have become a staple in Vickery Meadow, and are currently able to serve more children than ever before. If you’re like me, you might be asking yourself how a single organization can be providing so many students with so much.
The answer, as I found out, is simple – a lot of incredible people care deeply about Heart House.
It took me a while to comprehend the degree to which this statement holds true. But after five weeks interning here, I’ve realized that it’s an odd occurrence when an hour passes without experiencing it in some sort of way.
A good example of this is the amount of donations we receive. At Heart House, we receive donations in two forms: monetary and material. As a nonprofit organization, we couldn’t exist without financial donations. These funds allow us to provide our children with food, fun activities, and educational aids. We also have a need for many material products here at Heart House, including educational and recreational materials for children grades K-8. Have you checked out our supply donations page? If not, let me summarize it for you: it’s long. Fortunately, we have an incredibly loyal donor base. We receive calls every day from people, organizations, religious groups, companies, etc. who are aware of our many needs. All of these groups and individuals are ready and willing to donate money and material items to Heart House, and each donation benefits our students in a different way. Oftentimes, donation drives will be held with the sole purpose of providing Heart House with the tools we need to serve our children.
In addition to the monetary and material donations we receive, Heart House is also blessed by the presence of our many volunteers. In total, we serve over 120 children, all of whom are incredibly unique. Any way you slice it, they are an amazingly diverse group– they speak 15 languages, and hail from various countries across the globe. But just as there is no stereotype of a Heart House student, there is no stereotype of a Heart House volunteer – they come from college campuses, corporate offices, the neighborhoods we serve, and from just about everywhere else.
The best part is that our volunteer base continues to grow, almost on a daily basis. Even during our summer program, new volunteers come to Heart House every single week. All of our volunteers have different skill sets and ideas about how to help our children, and they all serve in radically different ways. Whether a volunteer plays Frisbee, spends time compiling a digital library, or simply helps a child with their homework, the actions of every volunteer combine to create a better environment for our students.
Make no mistake – I haven’t forgotten about the actions of the paid Heart House employees who dedicate hours every day to alleviating the plight our children face. We are blessed with a unique team, and each member cares deeply about the children they’ve taken responsibility for.
But the foundation of any nonprofit is you. The civilians – people who sacrifice their time, money, and resources in order to help our children, simply out of the goodness of their heart. And what amazes me most about Heart House is how many of those people we have on our team. Nearly every day, I meet more and more of them, and I’m amazed by the massive difference they make in the lives of our students. Such dedication and selflessness I have never encountered in any of my previous volunteer experience.
On behalf of Heart House and of myself, thank you to our donors and volunteers. You are undoubtedly the backbone of this organization and the work we do – your generosity and charity impress and inspire us every day.
Though Heart House is blessed with wonderful volunteers and donors, we are fighting an uphill battle in Vickery Meadow. We are in constant need of financial donations, supplies, volunteer hours, and anything else you have to offer. Please volunteer, donate, or contact us to get involved today.