What’s up with YMAP Summer Explorer’s you ask!? Volunteering, volunteering, volunteering!

The YMAP Summer Explorer’s program of 18 immigrant high school youth has struck a balance of keeping students busy throughout the summer with valuable life experience. In July the students received financial assistance to complete a Summer School course.

Mustard Seed Street Clean-Up

In August the students are out and about all over the city volunteering and are learning in an experiential way about the City of Calgary and it’s many resources.

It is hard to believe that it is already mid-August, until I start looking back on the summer and remember the many places our group has been. In just 2 weeks we have cleaned lockers and floors at the Mustard Seed, sorted through donations and clothing at the Drop-In and Rehabilitation Center, served dinner for 80 at Inn from the Cold society, helped drop off bags for an Inter-Faith Food drive with the 3-6 year old kids at YMCA day camps in Saddletowne. . . . it has been a full 2 weeks indeed!

We still have more to come with the Mustard Seed, Inter-faith Food Drive, as well as a full week volunteering our time with Global Fest – a spectacular exhibition and festival of fireworks.

Some of the students in this program will be completing up to 50 hours volunteering over the course of 4 weeks! That old stereotype that high school youth may not care and sleep the summer away has been blown out of the water as this group of students is beyond committed to getting out of the house and contributing towards the greater community of Calgary in small ways. They learned from a staff member at the Drop-In Center how their organization would need to hire quite a few more full-time staff if they didn’t have the volunteers that they do every day. This caught the students by surprise and has set the tone for their attitude towards volunteering and its integral role for many organizations.

All in all this summer has been jam packed for the students with good laughs, lots of public transit, an expanded view of the City of Calgary and most importantly a deeper understanding of the important role volunteering plays in our communities. Way to go YMAP!