By: Mallory Thomason, Generation SERVE Teen Leader
Hi, my name’s Mallory, and I’m an alum of Generation SERVE’s 2017 summer Youth Leadership Program. I used to think the organization was only about giving younger kids the opportunity to help and give back to their community. I now know that Generation SERVE encompasses SO MUCH MORE!
Starting with our leadership training, I learned what really goes into leading a volunteer activity and what the staff at Generation SERVE does behind the scenes. The staff of eight truly cares and wants to make a difference for my generation. I don’t think I understood this until I started co-leading activities and actually saw it for myself.
One of the first activities I co-led was cooking lunch for Caritas’s homeless clients. I was a little nervous, but I also felt prepared because of how much the Director of Youth Leadership, Jennifer, believed in me. We could tell by the way she taught that we could all lead and lend a hand as long as we kept trying and had smiles on our faces. When I got to Caritas, Arielle had already set up all the ingredients and showed me exactly what to do. Although we were short a few volunteers, I worked with another Teen Co-Lead to help make all 100 servings of King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Arielle was there to help me complete tasks and lead the activity every step of the way. It was a good example of having to step up and get the work done, even when you don’t have all the help you expected. At the end of the activity, I felt accomplished and proud of the contribution I made. I looked out the window and saw hundreds of people waiting outside the homeless shelter across the street. I could see the difference I was making.
After that, I knew any contribution I made with Generation SERVE would make a difference somehow - even if I couldn’t see it. Although I helped out during the activity, I still wasn’t completely aware of what went into buying the ingredients, getting the food there and communicating with families to get volunteers to Caritas to begin with. Generation SERVE spends $632,000 a year to make all this possible! At first, I was shocked by how much money was needed. But, after learning everything that went into organizing and managing over 1,000 service activities each year, I couldn’t believe how much was done with so little money! They need to pay for rent, supplies, marketing, staff, Activity Leads and all the little things that go into their programs, including the stamp cards and t-shirts they give to kids.
This organization builds a sense of pride and understanding of what giving back really is and I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of it. The more I lead and get to know everyone I work with, the more I see what a blessing it is to be part of this community. If you can help in any way, it will make a difference - even if you can’t see it.
Help us shape the next generation of givers, leaders, and changemakers - like Mallory - by supporting Generation SERVE during Amplify Austin when the campaign kicks off at 6 PM on Thursday, March 2nd! Every dollar allows us to continue creating transformative experiences for youth and adolescents in our community - and that’s a change we CAN see. Make a gift in honor of our future at amplifyatx.org/generationserve and help us achieve our goal of raising $30,000.
Mallory (right) meeting fellow teen leaders on her first day of Youth Leadership Program training.
Mallory and another Teen Lead help organize and clean Foundation Communities’ classrooms during a service project for their Youth Leadership training.
Mallory (right) at a Teen Advisory Board meeting in January of 2018.