StandUp For Kids – Thurston County
This month we would like to spotlight our wonderful volunteer, Ann Heitkemper!
Ann began volunteering with StandUp For Kids – Thurston County in April of 2019 and has made a big positive impact in the lives of many of our homeless youth since then.
“Outreach is challenging but yet rewarding. Kids on the street are skeptical of someone approaching them. It was explained that it is important to introduce yourself and chat a bit before giving someone a card with contact information to assure they can participate in the program. Even if they do not join us later for a social event or contact StandUp For Kids, they know that there are people that care about what happens to them. That moment of interaction may help someone through a rough day on the street, at least, that is what I hope for.
A few Saturdays back, I met a 19-year-old young woman (she/her) sitting against a building near Mama Dee’s food stand. She shared that she was pregnant. I gave her a knit infant hat and a stuffed animal that my sister donated. She proceeded to find a backpack and put the hat and stuffed animal in the backpack. She told me that she would use the backpack to collect items for the baby. Her mood changed from lethargic, sitting on the cold sidewalk to getting up and joining us at the Outreach table. Volunteers shared information about where and how she could access resources for herself and the baby. I don’t know if this young woman followed through with seeking help, but I hope that she will reach out if she needs further help with access to resources.
StandUp For Kids has given me the opportunity to meet and learn about our homeless neighbors. I also get to hang out with the amazing people who volunteer! It’s a great experience.”