Why Youth Unlimited?
|Our many Nights Alive volunteers!|
When I speak to people that are new to volunteering they are always surprised by how long I have been involved with Youth Unlimited. They often ask why I had stuck around as a volunteer for such a long period of time. There are a few reasons that impacted my decision to stay and invest in local youth.
I began as a volunteer for a new program, called Momentum, when I was 15. It sounded like a great opportunity. I would volunteer with a mobile youth drop-in center every week and connect with different students. I met with a mentor regularly, which helped me learn better goal setting and planning skills. We would talk about life and occasionally discuss deeper things. It was an opportunity to lead, learn and work as a team that I hadn’t found anywhere else. I was on our summer break from this program when something happened that really changed how I looked at my volunteer work.
Over the course of the year I had become friends with someone who suffered from severe depression. We had become quite close in the last few months and we were talking quite often. One night I received a text message around 2:30 am with threats of suicide. I left my house immediately and started running to the nearby coffee shop where my friend had texted me from. I started calling Danny, the area director for Langley YU, repeatedly until he answered the phone. I explained the situation and he told me he would meet me there.
When I got there, Danny was already speaking with my friend. As they walked out of the door to leave, my friend started to run. Danny chased my friend and jumped on their back, yelling at me to call the police. I got on the phone immediately while Danny struggled to stop my friend from harming themself. I don’t think that anyone ever thanked Danny for coming out that night but I guess he knew he was just doing his job.
This incident occurred many years ago but I still remember it very clearly. It had significantly impacted the way I continued to volunteer and the way I continue to work with students to this day. That was the night I realized that the need in the community is not always seen – the need to be loved and valued by a caring adult. In order to meet this need, individuals need to be willing to stand up and be available. I’m still walking alongside my friend today and, with your help, I can continue to be available for young men and women in need.
- Amy Seiler