Teen volunteers Sydney Reyes, a senior from Ayala High School, and Adrie Villa, a senior from Don Lugo High School, grew up in Chino and said they were constantly impressed by the community events their city hosts.
“I grew up watching people in green jackets [community services staff] around town it looked like they were celebrities or heroes,” Sydney said. “To be on the same level as these people who work so hard is a great feeling.”
Adrie, 17, applied for the Chino Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) after her mother came across a Facebook post saying the committee was accepting applications.
“I didn’t know much about the behind-the-scenes work that was going on in the city,” Adrie said. “So to be able to have lots of opportunities to volunteer around the city and see all the work that goes into it is really great.”
Both joined TAC, a 12-member committee that promotes community and local government involvement, in 2020 for a two-year term. They also joined the Teen Opportunity Program (TOP), a program for teen volunteers, the same year.
Sydney, who recently turned 18, is the chair of the TAC where she leads meetings held in council chambers and calls votes when necessary. Adrie works as the TAC secretary and is responsible for keeping the minutes that Sydney uses to report to the Community Services Commission.
“They work hand in hand,” Sydney said. “With TAC, you amplify the voice of your peers. And with TOP, you can do the work behind the scenes in the community. »
TOP members set up equipment at community events, run booths, help with youth sports, help with crafts for after-school programs, and volunteer at events at the Chino Youth Museum.
“Volunteering is like stepping into the real world and enjoying working with people who are also passionate about what you do,” said Sydney.
TOP Meetings, led by Community Services Coordinators Nikki Hendricks and Jessica Singletary at the Chino Teen Center, consist of presentations, icebreakers, games and sign-up for volunteer opportunities.
“Not only do we have opportunities to volunteer in the community, but we also build a network of friends from schools that we wouldn’t normally have contact with,” Sydney said.
Adrie said TOP and TAC prepared her for the professional world.
“You have to dress and act professional since you’re a voice for teens while representing the city,” Adrie said. “During the meetings, we had discussions about how to approach an interview, how to be professional and how to interact with children.”
Adrie said it’s important for teens to participate in community service, especially those who are considering applying to college. She said she received scholarships based on her volunteer hours.
Sydney said attending both programs has been more than resume padding.
“You learn so much and it’s just a great opportunity to get a sense of the professionalism within the community,” Sydney said.
TAC will be hosting a hygiene donation drive for the Community Care Closet from 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, March 1, and March 8 at the Ayala Park Operations Center where new hygiene items such as 2-in -1 shampoo, deodorant and shower gel will be collected.
The ATC organized a can drive and a blanket drive for the HOPE program and Priceless Pets.
In addition to hosting TOP meetings, the teen center serves as an after-school recreation program for students.
“The Teen Center is a safe place for students to have fun and connect with other teens in the community,” said Community Services Manager Ted Bistarkey.
The centre, which includes a kitchen, TV and game system, a range of books, several tables and chairs and craft supplies, offers teens homework help, tutoring, painting nights, cooking club meetings, visual arts and interpretation, and educational activities. teen workshops.
Bistarkey said monthly costs for the after-school program are $6 for Chino residents and $16 for non-residents. The center offers shuttle services at $25 per month for residents and $35 for non-residents for students enrolled at Chino High School, Don Lugo High School, Magnolia Junior High School, Ramona Junior High School, and Briggs Fundamental School, he said.
Bistarkey said the city plans to reach more teens in the community through social media and outreach in schools. He said the program plans to hold more field trips, volunteer recognition lunches and teen-suggested activities.
For more information on teen programs, call the Neighborhood Activity Center at (909) 334-3260.