Welcome to the last of several summer 2023 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 Jennifer Coleman, and I am the 2023 Hands On Thomas County Impact ROI intern!
I am a graduate of Thomas County Central High School and am currently a senior at Thomas University. I am also on the Thomas University Track & Field team as a Thrower. I currently hold six school records, which is the most by a female in program history!
I am excited to be this year’s HOTC intern and look forward to the opportunity to not only mentor youth and provide guidance but also give back to a community that has given so much to me since I was a toddler.
WHAT A SUMMER!
This summer has been filled with many adventures, laughs, and a great learning experience for everyone including myself!
I started my summer with our annual Project Impact Summer Service Camp designed for rising 6-9th graders. Allowing them to earn service hours, have lots of fun, and most importantly make a difference in their community.
Project Impact also served as my first major project with Hands On Thomas County. I believe that it was a good experience for me to learn different ways to volunteer in the community and lend a helping hand where I could. Every day was an adventure and as excited as the kids were to go back home and tell their parents about their day; I had the same enthusiasm!
It was so amazing to see the smiles on each of the camper’s faces, knowing how they can make an impact in their community even if it means getting a little sweaty! I have no doubt that they learned valuable lessons and made some new friends throughout Thomasville.
As the summer went on it was time for me to organize my own projects! I was given the opportunity to work with three different youth organizations – the Boys and Girls Club, Thomasville Community Resource Center and Vashti Clubhouse! As a native of Thomasville, I was very familiar with each youth group thanks to my parents allowing me to be part of those organizations growing up.
My very first project was at the Scott Senior Center with the Boys and Girls Club! The purpose of my first project was to bring awareness to Senior Outreach, allowing each student to understand the importance of the younger generation socializing with the older generation.
It’s always a good thing to make a new friend and lend a helping hand no matter how old you are! Did I mention that bingo was very competitive? I even had several chances throughout the summer to sharpen my bingo skills.
Additionally, as time went on throughout the summer and I was able to work with different organizations and youth groups I took some time to reflect on how much value volunteering holds in the community.
I got so much positive feedback from different event coordinators and participants throughout the summer on how well each project was organized. Even though sometimes I miss being a kid, this experience made me realize how happy I am to be blessed with such an amazing opportunity to give the younger generation a chance to make a difference in the world!
Especially being a student-athlete at Thomas University, hearing the stories from different kids about what they want to be or do when they grow up gave me a sense of acknowledgment to let them know how volunteering in the community can help them reach their personal goals. Going to different stores downtown, picking up trash, making thank you cards; you never know whom you might run into or shake a hand with that changes your life for the better.
I believe that working with the senior citizens at the Scott Senior Center and Woodleaf Senior Care was ultimately my favorite memory. Especially when we had the chance to make the memory collages. It was so beautiful to see how happy the senior citizens and students were to learn more about each other.
Sometimes in life, your hard work may not go noticed or mentioned in the big bright lights but I can assure you that you are making a difference in someone’s life in some way. You never know who might need a laugh, a hug, or just someone to make our community a better place. Always be kind to others and put your best foot forward in everything you desire to do in life!
So, here’s to one final farewell from Jen Coleman!
Thank you for giving me a chance to make a difference in so many lives. You all have made such a difference in my life for the better, and I could not be more honored to serve our almighty God and serve as this year’s Hands On Thomas County Summer Intern.
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.