Throughout the summer Garfield County PREP interns are hard at work engaging in their community through festivals and events. PREP’s intentions are twofold.
1. From a teen perspective, PREP hopes to debunk the myth that ‘there’s nothing to do’ in this valley.
Living in the Roaring Fork Valley makes getting involved easy if teens are aware of the possibilities! They ‘volunteer’ to work in supporting local non-profit agencies, chambers, schools and more according to their interest and availability. They get the chance to build a skill set aimed at preparing them for future employment and transitioning in to adult life. Teens have the chance at acquiring skills that range from time management and communication to recycling and land stewardship.
Additionally, PREP can introduce teens to area resources and trusted adults in a non-intimidating way. For instance, instead of just telling youth that there is a resource available if they ever face dating or domestic violence and providing a business card or phone number, we connect them with event organizers who put them to work at fundraisers such as marathons.
This provides an avenue for them to get to know the people connected with these resources as friendly, safe and trustworthy. Of course, we hope they never have to utilize such resources. In the event that they would, however, the hope is that learning what is available when not in a state of crisis will increase this likelihood. There is also the hope that their experience will create a desire to offer their support in the future when they can truly afford time to volunteer.
2. From an adult perspective, PREP hopes to shine a light on teens as a valuable resource that largely goes untapped.
PREP looks for a variety of opportunities where we can pay teens to volunteer. We understand that earning a wage is an important part of their success in this stage of their lives. This strategy provides new avenues where sparks ignite for future hobbies or career choices while being connected with trusted adults in their community.
Adults associated with the organizations and events, as well as the adults who attend, get the chance to talk to PREP interns about what they do, the importance of them having access to comprehensive health and how they are learning to make healthy decisions for themselves, their partners and their children.
PREP interns are given a platform to express their opinions, ideas and thoughts so that adults can see them as resources that have value to add; especially in regards to work being done by adults for youth! Besides, these organizations are often times non-profits that have small operating budgets. PREP enjoys collaborating and helping to offset costs while providing fun ways to engage youth in their communities.