Volunteers For Youth http://www.volunteersforyouth.org Making a difference for youth in Orange County, NC since 1982... one child at a time. Fri, 04 Aug 2017 20:17:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 Nick, Annie, and Kate Williams http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/nick-annie-and-kate-williams/ Sun, 16 Dec 2012 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=614

Since it opened nearly a year ago on Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, The Standard restaurant has been getting rave reviews as one of the area’s best casual dining spots.  What many customers may not know is that The Standard is a family affair.  Co-owner Nick Williams helps run the kitchen, sister Annie pitches in after a day of teaching, and baby sister Katie is the front of the house manager.  Even though Katie is the youngest of the Williams clan, she is the person the other two credit with working to make sure that they – and the restaurant – stay on track.

The three Williams siblings grew up in Chapel Hill and each of them participated in Volunteers for Youth’s mentoring program.  Annie felt so positively about the program that she became a mentor herself while she was in college.  Looking back, the three have fond memories of the times they spent with their mentors, remembering how excited they would be all week, looking forward to seeing the mentors.  Annie reports, “We all agree that Volunteers for Youth helped to fill a void in our lives.  Volunteers for Youth hand-picked mentors for each of us who served as role models and set the stage for the types of people we wanted to be when we got older.”

Customers at The Standard can agree that those mentors did indeed set the stage well and, as they enjoy their cheesy garlic knots or tasty pizza, can give a nod to Annie and Katie and Nick, Volunteers for Youth alums.

Juvenile Services Staff http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/juvenile-services-staff/ Sat, 15 Dec 2012 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=609

The Division of Juvenile Justice has gone through many name changes over the years but the jobs of the court counselors who work there has remained consistent – overseeing young people who break the law and equipping them with the tools to make better choices in the future.   With Volunteers for Youth’s focus on delinquency prevention, there is an historic and natural partnership between the court counselors and the Volunteers for Youth staff, as both parties work to create a safe and healthy community for local youth.

In the early 1980s, Chief Court Counselor Harold Rogerson was a key figure in the creation of Volunteers for Youth, realizing that such an organization would provide valuable services for court-involved youth.  For many years after that, court counselors played a hands-on role in the life of the organization, serving on the Board of Directors, the mentor screening committee, speaking at volunteer trainings, and pitching in at Volunteers for Youth fundraisers.  Today the relationship has evolved into a more formal one but the strength of the partnership remains.

Court counselor Christy Watson explains, “VFY is vital to the success that Juvenile Justice youth experience. From accomplishing community service to serving on the Teen Court jury, these youth feel a sense of achievement. Sometimes it is their first encounter with that feeling and it’s all due to the dedication of the VFY staff.”

John Blanchard http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/623/ Fri, 14 Dec 2012 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=623

John Blanchard’s graying hair, grown children, and job title as UNC’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics suggest a man of responsibility and mature years.  Three decades ago, when Blanchard first arrived in Chapel Hill from San Diego, CA, he was a newly married young man with a recently acquired social work degree, looking for a job.  He felt thankful when he was chosen as the first executive director of the fledgling Volunteers for Youth organization.  Although he went on to another job several years later, Blanchard’s belief in the value of Volunteers for Youth has remained steady and his support has continued as a board member and volunteer.

Remembering the early days of Volunteers for Youth, it is the first volunteers that Blanchard recalls most vividly.  “Those volunteers had an indomitable spirit and would not be deterred from seeing their vision accomplished…serving the youth of Orange County with caring adult mentors.  I also remember the first training sessions for volunteer mentors. We were so excited!  That caring, determined spirit has obviously been continued by so many others for three decades. I am so proud to have been associated with the program that has continued to serve Orange County so consistently. Thanks to Susan Worley, the one constant, and her staff. Fantastic job!”

Jose Torres-Don http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/jose-torres-don/ Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:28:10 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=605

As a community specialist at El Centro Hispano in Carrboro, Jose Torres-Don has his finger on the pulse of Orange County’s Latino community.  Torres-Don came to Orange County from Austin, Texas and in just two short years has made many connections in his new North Carolina home.  It was a Spanish-speaking parent of a teen court participant who first got Torres-Don involved with Volunteers for Youth.  After helping translate for her and learning about the program, Torres-Don became a volunteer work site coordinator for Volunteers for Youth, allowing program participants to complete community service hours at El Centro.

Torres-Don is a dedicated activist and appreciates a similar dedication he sees at Volunteers for Youth.  “Volunteers for Youth is an organization that truly believes in the power and potential of youth. They do not see youth as at risk and powerless, but rather, as promising leaders and stakeholders. In a county that is experiencing much growth in its Latino immigrant population, Volunteers For Youth is a great resource for youth facing the challenges of growing up between two cultures and dealing with the almost inevitable stumbles along the way.”

Mia Burroughs http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/mia-burroughs/ Wed, 12 Dec 2012 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=597

Mia Burroughs arrived in Chapel Hill seventeen years ago, drawn by the community’s good schools and progressive values.  Those interests are reflected in her current occupations as a grant writer and as immediate past chair of the Board of Education of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.  Ten years ago, when Burroughs was starting out as a freelance grant writer, Volunteers for Youth hired her to write a federal grant and Burroughs has been working with the organization ever since.  With her passion for children’s issues and social justice, Burroughs is a natural fit for a grass-roots, youth-serving agency like Volunteers for Youth.  After writing about the good work of Volunteers for Youth’s programs for so long, Burroughs recently acquired an additional interest in the organization when her teen-aged daughter became a volunteer attorney with the teen court program.

In thinking about her association with the organization, Burroughs reflects, “I love writing about VFY’s work because they are all about making kids’ lives better. I’m so inspired by the commitment the staff and the mentors have to the youth who they serve and assist.  I have loved working with VFY and am very proud that my daughter is now part of the team as a volunteer for VFY’s Teen Court.”

Kiwanis of Hillsborough http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/592/ Tue, 11 Dec 2012 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=592

Stop by the Holiday Inn Express on a Tuesday at lunchtime and you’ll find a group of energetic, caring people sharing food and fellowship.  These are members of the Hillsborough Kiwanis Club, developing and launching plans to help children locally and around the world.  Chartered in 1988, the Hillsborough Kiwanis are part of a global organization of volunteers
dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

Several years ago, the group reached out to Volunteers for Youth.  With congruent missions of helping youth, the Hillsborough Kiwanis were happy to become sponsors of Volunteers for Youth’s annual fall golf tournament, a partnership that has continued ever since. Tim Hucks, a member of the Board of Directors at Volunteers for Youth and of the Hillsborough Kiwanis, explains, “I asked the Kiwanis of Hillsborough to contribute to VFY because we love to help kids in need.  We especially love to promote good citizenship and mentoring fits the bill.  The Hillsborough Kiwanis members are fascinated by the workings of teen court. Helping teens practice how court works and helping develop a sense of responsibility is invaluable.”

Steven Moore http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/steven-moore/ Mon, 10 Dec 2012 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=577

Steven Moore doesn’t have to look far to call up memories of his days with Volunteers for Youth.  He only has to glance at the photograph at his mom’s house to remember the day he watched a UNC basketball game from the fifth row, center court of the Dean Dome with Volunteers for Youth staff member, Scott Dreyer.  Not only did Moore enjoy great seats that day, it was also a memorable one because he got to meet Julius Peppers.  Now a senior at Fayetteville State University, preparing to graduate with a criminal justice degree in May, Moore has many adult responsibilities, including his one-year-old namesake son, Steven III.  With two years of football eligibility remaining, Moore is hoping to continue his schooling, pursuing a graduate degree while playing football.

Looking back on his childhood, Moore recalls many good times with Volunteers for Youth, where he participated in several programs.  “We always had fun going to things like bowling, the golf clinic, and football and basketball games, and even meeting a few celebrities along the way.  Coming from a single parent home, Volunteers for Youth provided activities that gave me time to get out and do different things.  It had a positive impact on me, helping me become a man while having a good time, trying new things, and enjoying what life has to offer.”

Art Chansky http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/art-chansky/ Sun, 09 Dec 2012 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=583

More than 40 years in North Carolina haven’t diminished Art Chansky’s Boston accent.  His distinctive voice is one that is well-known to UNC fans.  A sports columnist and commentator for Chapelboro.com and WCHL radio, Chansky has been reporting on Tar Heel sports in one way or another since he was churning out stories about Charlie Scott as a student reporter for The Daily Tar Heel.

Another, lower-profile side to Chansky is his volunteer work in the community.  In the 1980s, after a divorce took his son to another state, Chansky felt the need to get involved in the life of a young person and became a mentor through Volunteers for Youth.

Chansky remembers, “The boy I was matched with had some behavioral issues but he seemed to mature during our time together.  He eventually went into the service, which made me very proud to have known him.”

Chansky’s mentoring experience led to him becoming a member of the Board of Directors of Volunteers for Youth and he takes pride in what the agency has accomplished.  “For an organization like VFY to have sustained and grown for 30 years is a tribute to the people who have run it and supported it and to the Carrboro-Chapel Hill community for embracing it.”

Misty and Germeka http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/misty-and-germeka/ Sat, 08 Dec 2012 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=571

When Misty Bynum was a little girl growing up in Chapel Hill, her mother had a full plate as a single mom raising a family on her own.  When Bynum was matched with a mentor through Volunteers for Youth, it was a relief to her mother knowing that Bynum would be in good hands.  More than twenty years later, Bynum enjoys looking back on the good times she enjoyed with her mentor, June.  “June and I did so many things together.  She would take me home with her and we would watch movies and cook and she’d help me with my homework.  June was like a second mother to me.”

Even though June moved to Maryland some time ago, Bynum has kept up with her mentor through the years.  Now a mother of four, Bynum finds herself in circumstances similar to her own mom’s, as she herself balances the demands of a full household.  With so much on Bynum’s schedule, she was thrilled when her own daughter, Germeka was introduced to a Volunteers for Youth mentor, Caroline, a UNC student.  Germeka is the same age Bynum was when she spent time as a little girl with June.   Germeka and Caroline enjoy many of the same sorts of activities that June and Misty once did.  Germeka lights up talking about Caroline and some of their shared experiences, working on art projects, visiting together in Caroline’s dorm room, and going to see The Nutcracker.  Germeka succinctly sums up what her time with Caroline has meant to her, “We just have fun together.”

Jared Cates http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/jared-cates/ Fri, 07 Dec 2012 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.volunteersforyouth.org/?p=566

As a child, Jared Cates played in the kitchen of Pyewacket, Chapel Hill’s original health foods restaurant, where his father was a longtime chef.  Cates may have turned his nose up at the natural peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread that his parents packed for his school lunches, but growing up in a family that raised and ate healthy food did have an influence on him.  After several years in the human services field and with a graduate degree in social work in hand, Cates is now the Community Mobilizer at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, a job that perfectly marries his desire to give back with his passion for encouraging people to grow and eat local, organic foods.

From 2007 – 2009, Cates coordinated the community service program at Volunteers for Youth.  “I have so many memorable moments from working at VFY. One particular moment that I’ll never forget happened in the Northside Community Garden, where we had a few garden plots that the kids would work for community service. On this particular day we were digging up potatoes that seemed like they had been growing forever. The group of kids digging up potatoes was different than the group that had initially planted the crop, so they didn’t really know what to expect. In the middle of digging up our spuds, one young man stopped working to examine a potato and had a slight epiphany: “Wait, is this where french fries come from?” He asked, looking slightly confused. “Yes, this is where french fries come from. Did you know that potatoes grew in the ground?” I explained. The group then dove into a conversation about food and fast food and why some youth cared what they ate, and why some didn’t even think about what they ate on a daily basis.  I really do miss those days of working with our groups in gardens all around Orange County, even when it was 90 degrees outside and only two youth showed up to work.”