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TEENS LEND HELPING HAND

For sisters Gabby and Allie,  it was like a giant game of Jenga.

The two siblings – along with a group of teenagers – skillfully arranged dozens of large black Tupperware containers from a storage unit into the back of a moving truck. The teens were donating their time and muscles to help a local nonprofit, The Cinderella Project, through an organization called Youth Volunteer Corps.

Four years ago, YMCA executive director Josh Cole and then YMCA board chief volunteer officer Shaun Liccione went to Kansas City, MO, to visit the national Youth Volunteer Corps. Cole and Liccione decided that in partnership with the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA, the Youth Volunteer Corps would be a great program in the local community.

Fast forward four years later and Liccione’s two daughters and Cole’s oldest son have both participated in YVC projects this year.

They are not alone.

In January, 19 different kids have volunteered a combined 56-and-a-half hours. To date, the YVC has done projects with the Valley Mission and Opportunity is Knocking in addition to The Cinderella Project.

Francesco, a foreign exchange student from Italy, and Emma helped load up the truck for The Cinderella Project and recently went back to help them unpack.

“I like how you can do it discreetly,” Emma said. “When we were loading the boxes, no one was watching us, but we know it’s going to be brought here (The Cinderella Project store). And setting it all up, I  know a lot of guys and girls are going to have a great prom, because they feel good about themselves.”

Francesco, completing his senior year of high school at Robert E. Lee, agreed.

“I think you enjoy it more knowing that what you are doing is going to help people,” Francesco said, “knowing that it’s helpful and a good thing.”

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