Albert Ju, a student at the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, spent his summer giving back by volunteering at the YWCA of Queens.
The rising senior said he has been volunteering with the Y since 2009, and over the past summer he worked with young children enrolled at a summer day camp there.
It was an endeavor that he, along with 10 other teenagers and young adults who devoted a substantial number of hours volunteering at the Y over the last few months or longer, were recognized for with a President’s Volunteer Service Award Friday at a ceremony at the YWCA at 42-07 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing.
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) attended the ceremony and handed out the awards to the students along with certificates he also made for the event.
“It’s my honor to be standing here today in the presence of so many adolescents who are so committed to social equality,” Koo said at the Y auditorium, speaking to an audience of the volunteers, their parents, children they cared for over the summer and YWCA staff. “It takes a specific kind of individual to sacrifice his or her free time for the benefit of others.”
The volunteers, who ranged in age from 14 to 21, were part of Project CITY — Community Involvement Through the YWCA — and they spent 100 hours to 250 hours or more helping with the youth day camp, working in the Y’s office or other community work with local organizations the Y partners with.
The YWCA’s executive director, Roeme Rho Kim, said there were nearly 30 volunteers over the summer, with more than half of those winning President’s Volunteer Service Awards. She said many of the volunteers learn about community service opportunities with the YWCA through school and many are specifically interested in working there because it offers opportunities to work with a diverse group of people.
She said the program is a good experience for the youngsters, who learn valuable skills for the future, gain experience that can be put on a résumé and can pursue their interests.
“[We] provide youth opportunity to not only spend their time, their summer productively, but also think about their passion, commitment, career moving forward,” Kim said. “They really had fun and had a productive summer.”
Ju said volunteering helped him learn how to work with kids and build maturity. He also said he used to go the Y himself when he was a child, so volunteering there made him feel like he was giving back.
He said he enjoyed his time volunteering with the YWCA.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “That’s why I kept coming back every year.”
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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