While some students never seem to have enough time, Lauren Allred, a student at Brigham Young University, makes the time to give back to her community. When she heard about United Way of Utah County’s Grandfamilies program, she decided to volunteer.
“Lauren was always ready and willing to volunteer. Every week she would come in with confidence and a smile—we’re so grateful for her help,” said Noelle Pitcher, an AmeriCorps VISTA working with Grandfamilies.
Grandfamilies is a support, advocacy and education program designed to support individuals and couples caring for relative’s children. As a volunteer, Allred taught children of these families how to cope with issues like peer pressure or accepting their new lifestyle. By consistently spending time with them, Allred was a steady example for the children.
“I love working with kids when I volunteer. They are just so rewarding and open,” said Allred.
She also had activities for the children to open up and explain their feelings about their situation. Together they discussed communication skills and family dynamics. Because of the support Allred gave, she said she knows in some way she made a difference in their lives.
Allred started volunteering with Grandfamilies last January and will continue to do so this fall. She said, “Grandfamilies is a really great program that provides unique support in the community. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
The children enjoyed having Allred there as well. “Her positive attitude and excitement to help others showed and was contagious,” said Pitcher.
No matter if she’s teaching or playing with the children, volunteering always plays a big role in Allred’s life. She said it is because she feels a strong responsibility to do so.
“There’s a lot in my life I’ve been given, and I feel the need to give back to those who don’t have the same opportunities,” said Allred. “We should all help each other.”
Find a cause and make a difference. People do this all over the world. And someone in Utah County is doing it now. Last summer I went to an event called Take Two Dance. It was pulled together by a local ballet instructor from a local ballet company. I had a special interest in this event. Why? Because the proceeds went to the National Foundation for Transplants. Let’s get personal shall we? Reveal: I have a cousin. He’s not that old. Early thirties and one of the healthiest people I know. A while back he started getting sick and eventually it was discovered that he had liver disease. Not really knowing what this entailed my mom simply put it this way, “Eventually he’ll need a liver transplant but it has to get worse before it gets better.” I think it took about five years before it could get better. And even then it wasn’t easy. But with one rejection, two transplants, multiple surgeries and lots of family support my cousin pulled through. So naturally, our family likes to support the National Foundation for Transplants. From races to dances we’re their number one fans. We still have a crucial member of our large family because of them.
This year she’s at it again. Take Two Dance is happening this month from July 26-28. Now I know what you might be thinking, “A ballet recital isn't really my thing.” False my friends. It’s good ballet and not all ballet. In fact, it’s “a mentored choreography showcase for young talent” as the website states and they welcome all forms of dance. Do you know what that means? These are local people coming together and choreographing dances for one cause to make a difference. So come! Support a cause. Support the talent that’s busting out of the seams of our community. You won’t regret it. And maybe you’ll be inspired to use your own talents to make a difference. Whether that’s organizing an event or being in an event you can make a difference. So I’ll see you there? Come find me. I love meeting people.
*Information for Take Two Dance was found here.
I’ve always thought giving blood was cool. (Especially because I have this very visible vein on my right arm, right in the spot they poke.) Two different people influenced me greatly in developing this opinion of donating blood equals cool.
First, my dad. He has type O- blood and because of this, the Red Cross would often call him to ask him to donate when I was a kid. They called him all the time! For years I remember him donating.
Second, when I was 12, I remember listening to an older gentleman relate his experience about donating blood. He was probably in his 70’s at the time and had been donating for 35+ years! He had donated enough blood to save hundreds of lives.
Both these men = coolio.
YOU TOO CAN BE COOL!! Donate blood!! If you donate blood this next Monday, July 9 from 10:00am – 4:00am you can enter to win gift cards of either $25 or $100 dollars! Or, through September 5th, all donors will be entered to win a $2,500 dream vacation as the Grand Prize!
Spots are filling up!! If you’re interested for the Monday blood drive, contact Esther Sekiziyivu as soon as possible at 801-370-3542 or 801-377-4700.
To schedule any blood donation appointment you can either call Esther or visit redcrossblood.org
When I told my coworkers that I wasn't sure what to do a blog post about, they suggested I share some of my family's 4th of July traditions. One goes to the lake to watch their neighbors firework show. Another has a family reunion in Montana. A friend and their family from Provo always stake out their spot on University Aveneue so that they get prime spots to watch the parade. I, on the other hand, don't have any traditions at all!
I've spent about 8 years of "4th of July"s out of the country, a handful with family and friends in Utah, and the rest in random cities scattered throughout the country. But I kind of like it that way! I've been albe to see how other places celebrate and get swept up in other people's traditions.
Last year, I spent my 4th in the best place of all, Washington D.C.!
I don't have too many photos since my camera met it's demise at the beginning of the summer, but here are a few shots from that weekend:
Everyone sees the Lincoln Memorial statue from the front, but I thought you guys would like the opportunity to appreciate the back of the it. Notice how the sculptor captured the draping and folds in the back. So much work for something that no one really looks at! I like it.
Korean War Memorial
We got up early to go see the parade. It was really funny when the tourists in line at the metro would ask me about getting around, since I was just about as clueless as they were. We had some time to kill, so we visited that National Museum of American History. Kind of a strange place. Sort of hodge podge. But they had some good exhibits as well. I visited "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War" and this flag. Awsome.
The parade was a bit of a hodge podge as well. But loveable. Like these guys who were riding around on penny-farthing bicycles like this:
We walked around a bit, went to the Natural History museum, and headed over to the Lincoln Memorial to watch the fireworks. They were spectacular! I loved looking around and seeing everyones faces as they watched. It was really magical.
As great as last year's 4th of July was, I'm just as excited for this years! It's my first summer in Provo, and I want to make sure to do it right. I'm definitely going to hit up the booths at the Freedom Festival, cheer at the parade, and watch fireworks.
Hope you have a festive Independence Day!
Anita Charles is the Children's Book seller at the BYU Bookstore. Today she shares with us some tips for enjoying the bookstore and some of her recommendations for excellent reading. Take advantage of this great community resource and share your favorite books with the children in your life.
I’m all for volunteering—I’ve served meals at homeless shelters, brought music into retirement homes and cleaned up church and school grounds. But there was always one area of volunteerism I avoided—children.
Don’t get me wrong, children are adorable. Their giant eyes and chubby cheeks make me smile every time. But I had never had any experience with them. I’m an only child, have not yet reached motherhood, and can only recall awkwardly holding a baby once. I seldom interact with little Munchkins.
This past weekend I decided to volunteer at the Freedom Festival Baby Contest and United Way Family Event, where young children fine-tuned their motor skills by playing with books, balls and blocks. Inexperienced, I was unsure how I could truly help out and make an impact. But as I saw parents playing with the children, I noticed that there was just something so tender about their connection-- a connection unique to each family, yet equally precious and pure among all the families there. It was truly special.
Now this doesn’t mean I’m ready to jump into motherhood just yet. Yet by working with children to gain skills and learn important developmental lessons to help them in the future, I’ve learned my own important lesson as well:
I recognized that these types of things-- as simple as playing with blocks—are the building blocks for greater things.
Volunteering can be as simple as playtime. And even though I haven’t done playtime since I was a wee kid myself, sometimes you have to breach your comfort zone to help where help is needed. I know I’m sure glad I did.
Today’s EveryDay Learner post clues you in to some great food options that help your brain think quicker and clearer.
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