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.
This week was all about the animals! From domestic to wild, each youth organization this week got the chance to help or work with animals.
Both the Boys and Girls Club and Vashti got to go to Hands and Hearts for Horses, a therapeutic riding center for people of all ages with physical and intellectual disabilities. Through hippotherapy, riders can enhance their motor skills and compassionate thinking skills.
Starting off on Monday, youth from the boy’s cottage at Vashti helped out with Hands and Hearts’ kids camp and spent time doing barn chores. The boys really enjoyed interacting with the kids at camp, as they played games with the kids while the kids were on horses. Some of the youth were a little afraid of the horses at first, but they quickly warmed up and had loads of fun. After playing warm-up games with the kids at camp, we got right to work in the barn, where we scooped lots of poop from stalls and raked up the main section of the barn. These boys got the barn chores done in record time and are definitely some of the most hard-working people I know!
The next day at Hands and Hearts, The Boys and Girls Club enjoyed hanging out with the goats the most. After grooming the sensory trail by removing all branches and pinecones and raking it clean, the kids got to get in the goat pen and interact with them. We learned that the stereotype of goats eating anything is 100% true! While we were feeding them pieces of grass and leaves, one of the goats tried to eat a girl’s hair! Next, we got to work in the barn, scooping up poop from the stalls and filling in holes with wood shavings. And of course, we were able to pet several horses along the way!
On Friday, I met youth from The Clubhouse onsite to do a project serving three different kinds of animals. First, we made dog toys out of old T-shirts for dogs at the Humane Society. Many of the kids learned how to braid for the first time making the toys! Then, we made cat toys from old pill bottles to take to cats at Miss Kitty’s Feline Sanctuary. Lastly, we made Cheerios bird feeders to hang on trees around the Vashti campus for native birds to feed on. Usually, when we think about helping animals in need, we first think of rescue animals or strays. But sometimes, we need to help the animals that live right in our own backyards.
Overall, this was a very rewarding week for me, as the kids really seemed to enjoy each activity we did and expressed lots of interest in returning to volunteer with these organizations again.
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.