Beginning this summer, teenagers throughout Maryland have been giving back to their local homebound neighbors by volunteering at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM). Our engaging and innovative teen programs included summer and fall sessions of the Teen Ambassador Program or “TAP” in which participants attended virtual learning seminars on nonprofit-related topics in addition to packing thousands of meals at our Haven Street office.
This holiday season, teens are invited to participate in our December Teen Takeover days where teens will join a meal-packing shift, earning community service hours along the way. If you or someone you know may be interested click here for more information.
These programs allow MOWCM to package and provide meals to those that need it most. They are also invaluable to the participants themselves. The following teens share the impact volunteering with MOWCM had on them.
Faith Cooper, Senior, Summer TAP
When it came to volunteering at Haven Street, Faith did not know what to expect. During the first week of volunteering, she helped out in the packing room. She was surprised how fast the pace was but was able to adjust well! The second week Faith volunteered in the kitchen. She loved getting to know the staff. “The staff were so funny and friendly. I really loved the people and would definitely volunteer again.”
Rika Felten, Junior, Summer TAP
In the daily virtual learning sessions, Rika says that she, “learned so much every single day.” She felt as if the program was really planned well and enjoyed hearing from various guest speakers. She particularly enjoyed the fundraising sessions and felt inspired that “even as a teen, I can make a difference.” Volunteering in person at Haven Street was hard work, and Rika gained a lot of respect for the staff and volunteers who come in day in and day out. Rika was inspired to organize her own Teen Volunteer Day at MOWCM, which was a great success.
Finn McClernan, Junior, Summer TAP
Finn really enjoyed attending the virtual sessions and liked how it brought the entire group together. He also really loved how applicable the learning modules were to a teen’s life and felt as if the staff members did a great job of explaining their respective topics. Finn loved the in-person volunteering at Haven Street. He found it to be very rewarding. And while it was sometimes a challenge to be working for three continuous hours, he loved getting into the rhythm and getting it done.
Isaac Lawrence, Junior, Summer TAP
Isaac really loved the in-person volunteering at Haven Street. He found it to be a really worthwhile way to spend his free time. He enjoyed getting to know the other teens and loved working in the kitchen with staff. It was motivating to have everyone working together for a common goal. This inspired him to keep moving and serving the entire time. Overall, Isaac’s takeaway from the program is that the TAP experience really reinforced his passion for service and was a fantastic week of integrating service and learned skills. He was able to put these skills to the test by raising $595 for MOWCM through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Gabby Grabush, Sophomore, Summer TAP
Gabby loved learning about the workings of nonprofits, as it was something that she did not know about prior. She was able to better understand how nonprofits function, fundraise, and budget. When volunteering at Haven Street, Gabby spent one week in the meal packing room and one week in the kitchen. She loved experiencing both parts of the operation and was impressed with the speed of getting the meals cooked and packed.
Jada Green, Sophomore, Fall TAP
Jada first heard about MOWCM through her friends who did a summer TAP session. She participated in a teen volunteer day with them and had a great time. She loved the in-person volunteering and made new friends while helping others. She was really impressed with the efficiency of the assembly line and how quick everyone is able to get it done. Overall, Jada believes that anyone who is interested should
give it a try because they will probably love it as much as she does!
Meghan Kerr, Sophomore, Fall TAP
Meghan has always loved volunteering. Last year, she helped deliver cans to those who needed it and was touched by the folks she met. When she heard about TAP, she instantly knew that this program aligned well with her passions and she was eager to get started. Meghan loved working in the kitchen. It was a lot of fun for her to connect with other volunteers and staff and she was able to make several new friends in the process. Overall, it was really sad for Meghan to see how many people in Central Maryland are homebound and in desperate need of food. However, it made her feel better knowing MOWCM is there for them. Meghan would recommend TAP to any teen and believes it was an incredible experience. Check out the article that Meghan wrote about TAP in her school’s newsletter.