Volunteer’s in Action
Larkin Street Youth Services depends on the generous contributions of hundreds of volunteers every year. We have collected here some of their stories to celebrate their commitment and inspire the continued generosity of others.
An Example of Perfection
Larkin Street residents extend the circle of giving
By Sandy Rechtschaffen, Congregation Emanu-El
Five years ago, a congregant father asked me to assist his family in finding a community service opportunity to feed the hungry and help the needy that they could do with minor children. This led to our 4-year relationship with Larkin Street Youth Services. Larkin Street is the City’s largest provider of safe housing, education, job training and mental health services for formerly homeless youth ages 12-24. Emanu-El chose to adopt a residence known as G-House, which houses twenty 18-24 year olds for up to 24 months before they launch into independent living.
We met with the residents and determined what they wanted most was home-cooked meals. Each Sunday, for the past 4 years, our congregants cook and eat with the G-House youth. But that is only the beginning of the story.
When G-House learned that a former Sunday dinner volunteer was diagnosed with cancer, they immediately signed up for the Mealtrain calendar and delivered flowers, a card and a 3-course dinner every 2 weeks for 13 months. Additionally they baked Christmas cookies for our Board of Directors for Hanuakkh as well as joined our young adults for an evening of cooking and serving the homeless, this past February during the Interfaith Shelter Feedings. They expressed gratitude for this empowering opportunity to give back now that they find themselves in a significantly better place.
But we are still not at the end of the story. This past week, I publicized in our weekly Email-u-El that G-House was in need of a barbecue for the fourth of July dinner our congregant was planning to cook with the residents. Who called me immediately? The now recent widower and recipient of G-House meals for 13 months. He donated the requested grill.- Sandy Rechtschaffen, Congregation Emanu-El
Just before leaving [exiting the] program, one client told me something on the lines of ‘I haven't had much to look forward to lately, but I always look forward to having a good dinner on Friday night.’ Knowing that the tiniest bit can make a difference is a real lift.- Program Volunteer
Thank you so much for allowing our Alternative Spring Break students to volunteer at Larkin last Friday! We really enjoyed helping out in the kitchen and closet, and meeting some of the staff and youth. Many of our students expressed that it was their favorite experience of the entire trip.- University Alternative Spring Break Lead
We really felt that we were productive and useful thanks to the efforts of the staff. The spirit in the place was fabulous.- Holiday Volunteer