Now in its second year, the Teen Ambassador Program (TAP) provides high school students with an opportunity to develop leadership skills, learn about nonprofits, and perform meaningful volunteer service. Each day, participants spend their mornings in learning sessions taught by MOWCM staff members across the organization. The topics range from leadership skills to nonprofit 101 to marketing. In the afternoons, the teens volunteer in the kitchen and meal packing room, preparing and packaging thousands of meals to clients in need.
By combining volunteer work with learning sessions, TAP helps students better understand the issues of aging and identify how they can make a difference. For many teens, challenges facing older adults isn’t something they
have encountered. TAP gives them a basic understanding of things like food insecurity and social isolation and their impact on health and wellness. Students then become part of the solution by becoming ambassadors and
engaging in activities such as writing cards for the clients, recruiting volunteers, fundraising for MOWCM, or spreading the word on social media.
Amy Dell, Volunteer Support Services Specialist says, “It’s so inspiring to me that teens are this dedicated to making a difference in their community. When they hear about these issues, they are motivated to act- they want to help, and they understand how our work is providing our clients with comfort, wellness, and nutrition.”
From a parent’s perspective, the Teen Ambassador Program gives families the assurance that their children are learning real-world content while giving back. Parent Leslie J. says, “TAP is a fantastic program that allows teenagers to learn meaningful information and life lessons about food insecurity, inequity, and nonprofit management.” Margaret G. agrees and comments on her children’s work packing meals, “I liked how my kids got to experience working with both peers and adults on an assembly line. They got to see the entire process which makes the issues real to them.” Participant Peyton sums it up saying, “it’s such a beautiful thing to see us
all come together in the packing room.”