Rapids reach out to the community

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By: Amanda Wallace and Julie Hutchison, Staff Writers

Youth on a Mission is a club here at James River full of high school students who spend their free time volunteering for all kinds of outreach projects. English teacher Christopher Joyner is the club sponsor and helps plan the events the club participates in throughout the year.  

“It’s been hard for them to find things to do since there are so many other clubs people are involved with in the school, so they mainly focus on things outside of school,” Joyner said.

Earlier this year the club was very successful in collecting personal care items for the homeless. They gathered a couple hundred pounds of items and they donated them on Friday, May 6th when they made dinner for the homeless with their Breaking Bread program.

Youth on a Mission took part in the Breaking Bread program, a program that entails groups purchasing food, preparing meals and then bringing it to the facility to serve residents staying at their Medical Respite or Safe Haven program.

After they provide the meal for the people within these programs they get a chance to talk to the residents and help them take their minds off from the current situations they are in.

“Going to feed the homeless was a really cool experience and I think I enjoyed it as much as the kids did,” Joyner said.

The Medical Respite is a 30 day program for homeless individuals who have just been released from the hospital without a place to go. The program is intended to give them time to fully recover from their illness before transitioning into a permanent living situation.

The Safe Haven program is a long term transitional program for chronically homeless, mentally ill individuals. Everyone in the Safe Haven program is stable, but they needed a program that gives them a chance to fully understand how to deal with their illness, and learn skills needed to live an independent lifestyle.  

“Next year we are going to try to do something every month instead of something once a semester,” Joyner said.

This year Youth on a Mission had two fundraisers: a coin collection for the children’s hospital, and a collection of items for the homeless.
If you are interested in joining the club next year make sure to listen to the morning announcements to hear times for the next upcoming meetings.