Our West Dallas Street campus pulsed with a youthful spirit of service late last month as more than 300 young people from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) came together to make a difference at The Center. Our organization was one of several area nonprofits chosen as destinations for the service-learning component of the ELCA Youth Gathering, a faith-based conference that challenges youth to put their values into practice out in the community. The gathering takes place every three years and brings together more than 30,000 kids from across the nation to volunteer—this time in Houston!
ELCA’s volunteer week at The Center began before the official Youth Gathering even started. Thirty-five youth joined us on Monday, June 25, as a part of their Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), a “pre-event” that empowers young people of color and those whose primary language is not English. In a wave of orange t-shirts, hundreds of additional volunteers joined them at The Center once the Youth Gathering was underway.
Thursday and Friday were set aside for service projects, where the volunteers helped to clean and beautify our campus, fulfill orders in our vocational training program, and more. As busy as they stayed, there was still time for a kick ball game or two with our clients. The week culminated in a special dance and ice-cream social for our clients on Saturday, with the ECLA youth serving ice cream floats and joining in the fun.
The theme for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering was “This Changes Everything.” We’re proud of each of these young people for taking that motto to heart and working to make a positive change for the men and women with I/DD who depend on The Center each day. We extend to you profound thanks and a standing invitation to come back any time!