April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and we wanted to salute all of our volunteers who are once again becoming an integral part of the services we provide to our youth as we help them transition to stable, independent living. Volunteers are making a difference, whether it’s to babysit for babies at Raphael’s Life House so their moms can take a much needed break, or to work one on one helping out a youth learn computer skills at our Dove Learning Center, or to simply have some fun shooting hoops with our youth, our volunteers are making a difference.
Here are two stories.
Open Mic Night with Volunteer, Will Antoniou
In March, we had an Open Mic Night to showcase some of our youth’s talents and well, just have some fun. That fun included six youth performances along with one courageous staff member performance. A special thank you to Will Antoniou. Will has been our Music Class volunteer since December and organized the event.
From day one, the young people at Covenant House New Jersey have given me their utmost dedication and focus. This is, without a doubt, the greatest gift a teacher can receive. In return, I strive to nurture their musical hopes and dreams. Covenant House’s first Open Mic Night was a resounding success. Not only because the audience was moved and entertained, but also because we were able to witness the young people manifest those same hopes and dreams on stage. Before the performance, I had one last request of my students, which was to “own the moment,” because it was indeed their moment. And for this one night we were able to see what I, and all the Covenant House staff have always known: These young people are so much more than homeless youth, or youth in crisis. They are Hip-Hop artists, singers and poets.Will Antoniou
Read more about Will and Open Mic Night here.
Accenture IT Support with Volunteer, John Nasisi
Accenture has been an important corporate partner of our ours over many years. Not only have they supported us financially, but they have also been directly engaged with youth and staff in a variety of ways. They’ve engaged with youth in one on one volunteering at the Dove Learning Center, as well as Corporate Service Day projects. But they’ve also shared their extensive consulting expertise with us at multiple times. The latest is our work with John Nasisi, Cloud Advisory Senior Manager at Accenture who has expertise with IT infrastructure. He has been a thought partner of ours over the last six months to efficiently upgrade our IT infrastructure. Thank you John!
A big thank you to all of our 60 active volunteers across the state who are making a difference in the lives of the youth we serve. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at CHNJ, click here. Can’t volunteer but ready to support us for just one night at a Sleep Out? Click here.