Welcome to one of several summer 2022 Project Impact Outreach recaps from our Project Impact ROI intern. Project Impact ROI is an annual program designed to engage local high-school seniors and college-age students in community service, and expand our SHOTC youth summer programming and outreach. In return, the intern gains valuable leadership experience, credit hours (if applicable), and a monetary award. Know a student (18+) who would make a great intern candidate for Project Impact ROI? Click here for information.
My name is Ella Millere, and I am the 2022 Hands On Thomas County Impact ROI intern. I graduated from Thomasville High School and am currently a rising second year at the University of Virginia studying leadership and public policy. I see this summer as an opportunity to connect with my hometown and to build lasting relationships within the community. Thanks for following along on my intern and volunteer adventures.
We kicked off the first week of Project Impact Outreach with the Boys and Girls Club, taking a great group of students to Second Harvest where we packaged almost 150 food boxes for families in need! Second Harvest of South Georgia is an organization that collects donated food and sells it at discounted prices to food banks, soup kitchens, and various non-profits. While some donations come from individuals, the majority of food comes in as surplus from area grocery stores like Walmart and Kroger. While spending an hour in a warehouse packing food may sound boring, these kids had a blast! We formed an assembly line and had fun stacking cans of food, pushing the boxes along the wheels, and using giant packing tape. It seems like the boys sealing the boxes had the most fun! One volunteer enjoyed the project so much he asked about working at Second Harvest when he’s older! We wrapped up the morning with a quick tour of the warehouse, weighing our entire group on an industrial sized scale and even going inside a walk-in freezer at a temperature of -24 degrees. That was NOT my favorite part! This was an amazing first outreach project, introducing volunteer work to some students and allowing others to continue giving back to their community.
On Friday, I met up with some of the Vashti Ventures and Connections Clubhouse kids to volunteer at one of my new favorite places in Thomasville: Scott Senior Center! After having visited this daytime activity center for seniors during Project Impact camp the week before, I was excited to return and introduce youth from the Clubhouse to some familiar faces. When we first arrived, the volunteers welcomed attendees and got them cups of water and coffee. It can be difficult to make conversation with strangers, but the group quickly warmed up and made new friends along the way. The seniors were so excited to get to chat with young people and see their smiling faces. Ladies from Zeta Amicae chapter were hosting a paint’n’sip for the folks at Scott Senior Center, so we had a great time helping them create beautiful, flowered works of art and even getting to paint a little ourselves. Afterwards, all the students said how much they enjoyed it, and that they would love to go back in the future!
I closed out the first week of outreach with an awesome mini service project at Thomasville’s 3rd Annual Juneteenth Festival. Originating in Texas, Juneteenth marks the day that enslaved laborers in Galveston learned the news of the Emancipation Proclamation. As part of Thomas County Rocks, attendees created more than 50 beautiful rocks that they planned to hide in parks and around their own neighborhoods. These were not just any rocks, though; they were rocks created to help spread awareness about Juneteenth. If you find one around town, post it on social media with the hashtag. It was a wonderful day of seeing old friends and meeting many more new ones.
Overall, this week was a great way to start my summer of outreach. I enjoyed spending time with kids from each of the youth organizations and can’t wait to see them to volunteer again soon!
Special thanks to these Diamond Level & above Sponsors, The Thomasville Antiques Show Foundation, and all of our donors and sponsors for making volunteer programs and events like these possible.