Growing into a Leader through Little Helping Hands

By , July 28, 2017

This month, we asked our Teen Leaders to share their experiences so far in our Summer Youth Leadership Program and Ramya was eager to share her story! Ramya is 13 years old and she’s been volunteering with LHH since March 2016. Her personal mission statement is, “To make the world a better, safer, healthier place and spread the love and happiness.” Ramya also volunteers her time as the Cedar Park Library Teen Council secretary, the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District Teen Council secretary and a Moolah U Camp apprentice.

On April 29th, 2017, I interviewed to get into Little Helping Hands’ Youth Leadership Program — and I was accepted! Looking back, I feel very confident in my decision to walk into the group interview. The atmosphere was very calming and, honestly, all I had to do was answer a few questions; there was nothing to be nervous about. In the Teen Leadership program, I’ve had countless opportunities to grow and learn. For example, my fellow Teen Leads and I raised $3,500 in just one month by emailing out requests for donations online, going door-to-door fundraising, creating a raffle with two prize packages and organizing an event called Parent Night Out.

Ramya (bottom left), the Teen Leads and kid attendees at Parent Night Out, a fundraiser for Foundation Communities.

An essential part of being a Teen Lead is Orientation Week, when the Teen Leads learn everything they need to know to lead an activity for Little Helping Hands. At the beginning of the week, leads learned the mission statement of Little Helping Hands and we created our own, personal mission statements to guide us throughout our experience. After that, we learned how to be a great activity lead. We learned how to use the roster, stamp cards and supplies and how to always be engaging and fun. Teen Leads also did a lot of team building and we became friends. We learned about what being a nonprofit means and we got started on our very own fundraiser — trust me, it’s very fun!

Ramya (bottom right) and three other Teen Leads clean up classrooms at Foundation Communities’ Sierra Ridge facility as part of their leadership training.

We also had Team Huddles scattered throughout summer to help plan and work on the fundraiser or to learn something new (for example, getting CPR and First Aid certified). In addition to Team Huddles, we volunteered throughout the summer. Our goal was to complete four Co-lead shifts (co-leads shadow the leads and take on some additional responsibilities) and three Teen Lead shifts successfully. Even though the Teen Leads lead some volunteer opportunities, it doesn’t mean that we don’t volunteer as regular volunteers at other locations. I mean, volunteering — for me personally, at least — is one of the best things you can do. Helping people has always been one of my favorite hobbies; a warmth just blossoms in your heart every time you think of the person’s life you just made a huge difference in!

Ramya (left) and a youth volunteer tend to the gardens at Mayfield Park & Preserve.

Being a part of Little Helping Hands feels great because I know that we — that I am making a difference in the world. Like I mentioned before, our summer cohort and my team raised $3,500 in four weeks. The funds we raised were used to buy back-to-school supplies for kids at Foundation Communities. Just thinking about raising that much money in such a short amount of time blows my mind. I’m still waiting for the moment when I freak out and realize I helped raise $3,500 even though I’m a thirteen year old! I have absolutely loved learning, making new friends, and helping the world become a better place at Little Helping Hands — and I plan to continue doing so. And one day, if you haven’t already, I really hope you join the family!