story & photo
by Maren Schober
Today, I sit across from Amanda Hartman, 13, of Montville, at the Montville Youth Service Bureau admiring this joyful bundle of energy. What is behind this sparkle and joy of living? I soon find out.
“I do what I do to give back to my community,” Amanda tells me. “I love the connection with other people, meeting new friends and being part of a group. I love the laughter and fun we share.”
A few questions clears this all up. “My older sister Jordan was involved in volunteering at the Montville Youth Service Bureau a few years ago and I saw the change it made in her. She encouraged and inspired me to volunteer at the Bureau.”
The Montville Youth Service Bureau has a commitment to broaden the experience and strengthen the values and healthy functioning of youth while meeting their social and emotional needs. Among the many programs for youth is the Youth Action Council (Y.A.C.). “During seventh and eighth grade, I served as a member of Y.A.C. We mainly organized fundraisers such as the soda tab drive and the penny drive to raise money for needy people. For example, we gave money to the Make A Wish Foundation and the Heifer Foundation. You would be surprised at how fast the pennies add up and amount of money we collected!”
Other programs the Montville Youth Service Bureau sponsors include counseling and referral services, Hire-A-Teen job placement program, crisis intervention, drug, violence and alcohol prevention, parent education programs, parent/toddler play group and opportunities for those pursuing careers in the fields of human services, psychology, sociology, criminal justice and education.
Youth in Montville also enjoy using the Center as a recreational area for games such as basketball, dodgeball, air hockey, pool, foosball, ping pong, board games, video games, television, computers and arts and crafts.
This school year, Amanda is in ninth grade at Montville High School. “I am joining a class council for my school. I will help raise money for my class of 2013 for things such as field trips and for our prom.”
Amanda also knows and likes the fact that all her community service work will help her get into college. “My older sister is in college and I would like to go too”.
If it is Tuesday one can find Amanda on the back of a horse! “I take horse back riding lessons Tuesdays after school at the Bit By Bit Horse Stables,” Amanda shares. “I love to ride horses.”