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Youth Engagement: It Starts with One

This is the way of the volunteer. It often starts with one, but enthusiasm is contagious, and a little momentum turns into a movement.

Over the past year, United Way of Franklin County enjoyed a new partnership with Chambersburg Area Senior High School to engage students in volunteerism. Like most ideas, it started with one person. In this case, that person was Sabeen Safi.

Sabeen started volunteering with United Way during her sophomore year of high school, coming to our office after school a few days a week to help with odd jobs. She became more and more engaged with our work, which led to her becoming our first Student Campaign Chairperson for the 2021 Campaign during her senior year.

In this role, Sabeen made her mission to connect volunteerism to students throughout the high school by inviting and serving as a liaison to clubs and classrooms in the school.

The first project at the high school was a Personal Care Drive. The drive was initiated by students of the Interact Club and coordinated through United Way. The United Way team experienced volunteerism at its best upon arrival at Chambersburg Area Senior Hight School.

On the morning set for materials coordination and packing, Interact Club Advisor, Mrs. Alice Bing, made a request for volunteers to help carry boxes, as the students were arriving and settling into their seats. After a long and quiet pause, one student raised her hand. “I’ll help,” she said. She then turned to the student next to her, “Come on, you can help too.”

Two students left their seats to follow our team to the classroom door, but somehow in the time it took to walk down the hallway, five new helpers joined the ranks. Continuing through the long hall, down a flight of the stairs, heads were turning and more students were joining the group. By the time supplies were being loaded into vehicles, over a dozen volunteers were helping. Many hands made the load light, and with the help of more volunteers, items were effectively sorted, packaged into bags, and distributed to community members.

This is the way of the volunteer. It often starts with one, but enthusiasm is contagious, and a little momentum turns into a movement.

This year, we're excited to have Danica Nypaver as our 2022 Student Campaign Chairperson. Sabeen passed the proverbial baton on to Danica, who is continuing to grow student volunteerism at Chambersburg Area Senior High School and beyond. We have a lot of ideas in store for this campaign, so follow along as we engage all generations to LIVE UNITED for the betterment of our communities.

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