Matias first volunteered with Extreme Community Makeover when he was in seventh grade. He is now in high school and he really enjoyed his most recent volunteer experience.
“The thing that stands out the most from my recent volunteer experience is the sense of community that was created. While I was working with my group on a yard restoration project, the homeowner was extremely grateful for our work and our helping hand. The homeowner even developed strong relationships with us, and we got to learn a lot about him and the neighboring area. I also remember that at lunch time, quite a few of the residents from the area came and joined us, which I felt really helped build a sense of community as people from all over Denver were connecting and developing friendships through volunteer service,” says Matias.
Matias plans to volunteer throughout his life. To him, it’ll be a lifestyle. He sees the tremendous value volunteering brings to the local community.
“The thing that stands out the most from my first volunteer experience with ECM was the effect my group’s work had on the local community. We were working in the Swansea area on alley restoration and I remember how the community came to thank us for our service. Neighbors came outside and thanked us for our work and help in helping out their community, some even offered us drinks and food as well. I even remember one neighbor offered us habanero peppers as a thank you! Ultimately, what stands out to me is the gratefulness of the community and the impact our day of service had,” explains Matias.
Matias is thankful he learned to volunteer at a young age. Volunteering can really shape an individual. It may be out of the classroom, but it really teaches you a lot.
“I feel it is important for students of every age to volunteer because there is so much more to volunteering than just filling in a service requirement. Through volunteer service you are able to develop new friendships with people you likely would have never met if it wasn’t for the service, and also through your work you can impact so many people and really impact someone’s day. Therefore, I think volunteering is really a gift, and that all ages should volunteer as volunteer work does not only tremendously impact the recipient, but also the volunteer,” states Matias.
Matias feels that Extreme Community Makeover is a special organization because it focuses on uniting different communities across Denver, that would never interact otherwise. “I think the role ECM plays in connecting people from all different backgrounds to come together and do service also makes it special. Ultimately, ECM is a great organization that promotes change and a sense of community throughout Denver,” expresses Matias.
“It is important to get your hands dirty in your community so that you can make a difference and impact others. By becoming involved and helping out others anyone can have an impact and change their community for the better, no matter what that act of service may be. I feel as I don’t really do enough to really get my hands dirty in my own community, so this year’s theme is especially relevant to me.”
If you are a student, or you know a student, get involved and get your hands dirty! Sign up for a summer volunteer Work Day, here.