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VolunTeens

The VolunTeen program addresses needs of area youth enrolled in middle school (grades 6-8) by providing supervised activities after school and during the summerMost parents agree that all kids need attention, but when they reach 12 or 13 years old, they balk at being sent any place that resembles child care.  To address this group of young people, AOK organized the VolunTeens which in effect pays the kids to attend.  Rewards are earned for hours worked.   Initially VolunTeens were active only during Summer Camp and the teens were put to work helping group leaders and in food service.  Participation grew quickly and soon needs of youth with various talents and interests needed to be accommodated.There is no daily charge to participate in the VolunTeen program.

When School is in Session

During school months, VolunTeens are welcomed to Nathan’s Place daily after school (3-6 pm). Time is set aside for homework and tutoring, after which the kids can enjoy basketball, billiards, exercise equipment, and video games as well as a variety of board games. Internet activity is closely supervised.

In addition, VolunTeens are encouraged to participate in character education classes, health and nutrition classes, Worth the Wait Training©, vocational career classes, along with other various events and projects.

During the Summer

When school is out for the summer, Nathan’s Place has a full schedule of activities Monday through Friday (6 am-6 pm) for the VolunTeens in addition to service projects. Swimming, movies, bowling and visiting nursing homes are some favorites.  In late summer, the VolunTeens and their families are invited to Awards Night, a celebration with food and games and the participants are presented with their chosen rewards as well as awards such as VolunTeen of the Year.

Service Learning

Year round, VolunTeens are encouraged to lend a hand with supervised service learning projects in which the teen can earn rewards while helping adults.  Assistance to senior citizens is a regular activity, and VolunTeens also are responsible for maintenance of city-owned landscape plantings, setting up the Christmas lights on the square for the Downtown Association and other activities suggested by the youth. They love walking the dogs at the dog pound.

AOK’s service learning projects include a structured reflection period to emphasize the rewards of volunteerism and community service.

Nutrition

In the food department, nutritious snacks are served regularly and a balanced hot meal is available from 5:00 to 6:00 for anyone hungry and interested.

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