Update from the AAI program and Youth Advisory Board

The youth involved in the Adolescents Achieving Independence (AAI) program and youth on the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) have been very busy; participating in lots of volunteer activities and being involved many exciting events. Their focus recently has been on volunteering at local retirement homes: Above and Beyond at the Knights and the Fellowship Community. The youth have been spending time at the retirement homes playing games and doing activities with them, like arts and crafts, as well as joining them for their favorite pastime which is to just sit and talk with our youth. During the holiday season the youth also sang for the retirement homes to get them in the holiday spirit. They have also been focusing their volunteer efforts on the local humane society. Youth are given a brief orientation to learn how to work with the animals, and are then able to socialize with the cats, walk the dogs and help with grooming.

In addition to volunteering, our AAI youth have been helping with the design of the new Living Room, which will be a teen focused space at the VYH High Point office. The youth created a focus group to come up with design ideas for the room. The living room will be a space for the youth to meet with staff, relax, do activities like crafts, games and apply for jobs. Crayola with be designing the space and creating a mural on the wall of the teen room as part of the Volunteer Center’s Volunteer Challenge, and our youth have been able to contribute ideas to make sure that it represents what they want the teen room to be for them.

The youth on the YAB have also been working with the younger VYH clients and they recently participated in a fun activity with them, making and painting birdhouses, helping younger VYH members to feel at home. YAB youth have also partnered with VYH staff and the Lehigh County and will be presenting at the statewide Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN)  and Independent Living (IL) Conference at Kalahari Resort. The presentation will be about Building Partnerships to Effectively Serve Independent Living Youth.