Students from Kent Denver have volunteered with Extreme Community Makeover (ECM) on multiple Work Days this year. Jacob Larimer, Max Elder, twin brothers Julian and Gavin Dhanda, and their sister Adelle Dhanda, have all completed their community service hours by volunteering for ECM. Kent Denver teaches their students to be responsible citizens and volunteering is a path to helping shape their character.
Kent Denver’s mission statement says:
“Excellence in scholarship and character is the goal of a Kent Denver education. We seek to build a caring, diverse community of responsible citizens. To that end, our school provides a challenging college preparatory curriculum and sets high ethical standards.”
We appreciate their vision to propel students to value volunteerism and support the Denver communities.
“Before I had volunteered for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado where I worked more with the natural side of Colorado versus the people side of things. However, with Extreme Community Makeover I worked directly in communities and was able to see the impact it had on the people in those communities. It was very inspiring to see the positive change in people’s lives and how grateful they were,” says Max. He stands on the far left side of the above photo with other individual volunteers.
One of Max’s favorite memories of his time volunteering was when he was assigned to clean up an alley. There was a man driving down the alley on a motorcycle that stopped to talk with the volunteers. The Denver resident thanked the volunteers and offered them water. It was a super hot day. Even though the volunteers had brought their own water, they were very appreciative of the resident’s kind gesture. Max saw that the people in the communities are very grateful for the help and that was inspiring to him.
It was also Jacob’s first time volunteering with ECM. He cleaned up an alleyway and quickly realized the challenge of manual work. When one of the residents thanked the volunteers for helping support their neighborhood it confirmed in Jacob the value of what they were doing.
“Being able to work in different communities in Denver is great. When volunteering, I got the opportunity to explore areas of Denver that I hadn’t been to before. After finishing a project, seeing the progress you made and how it impacted people is a great demonstration of the importance of volunteer work,” explains Jacob.
Max also explains, “I would encourage my friends to volunteer now, although most of them already do. At my school we are all required to volunteer a certain amount. It is really cool to hear about the other organizations that people are a part of.”
Max says he will continue to volunteer throughout his life. He believes that it is important to give back to the community. Also, volunteering is a great opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, and visit new places.
“I believe that an act of kindness can change a life or community for the better. Working mainly to clean up under resourced neighborhoods, that are often overlooked, can show people that their community matters. No one can expect to change anything large scale on their own. However, individual acts of kindness can inspire others to make a positive impact,” admonishes Max.
“In our opinions, communities are built on small acts of kindness because you always have to start somewhere. With ECM, every time we come together to work with either an individual or communal property, we are making a small step toward improving our community and making it a better place for everyone involved. While one act of kindness may not make much of a difference in the overall big picture, these continual volunteer projects will add up and bring the people of the community together, with the ultimate goal of community growth,” explains the Dhanda siblings.
“It was extremely eye opening to see what we were able to accomplish as a group in just four hours doing each project. It has made us realize how simple it is to make a difference in our community and how good it feels to help individual members of the community and see their excitement when we are able to help them,” states the Dhanda siblings.
The siblings mostly enjoyed doing the personal house projects because they were able to connect with the resident in that home. “Our favorite experience was raking leaves, weeding and cleaning up one of the individual properties. We truly enjoyed when the homeowner came out and personally thanked us for all the hard work we had done. She was very grateful for our help,” they said. The homeowner mentioned that she has lived in her home for decades but at the age of 88 she was not able to take care of everything on her own. The siblings loved that they were able to help her.
Jacob believes acts of kindness can completely change a community for the better and individuals as well. Kindness can be a jump start to change on small levels and big levels. Jacob will continue to volunteer because he’s learned that it’s important to make positive impact in Denver. He believes ECM is a great avenue to make that impact.
Jacob says, “I would definitely encourage my friends to volunteer. It’s a great way to get exposed to new cultures and areas while helping to improve people’s lives at the same time.”
The Dhanda siblings also admit, “After all the wonderful experiences we have had volunteering with ECM and seeing the amazing work we were able to do each time we volunteered, we would love to encourage our friends to join us in volunteering.” The siblings will continue volunteering in the future because it allows them to build personal connections and spread the idea of helping neighbors. “Volunteering at ECM forced us to develop the connections with both those in our group and those who we helped. We can grow as a whole, when we are willing to help each other out,” says the siblings.
We can firmly state that the Kent Denver students were positively impacted by their experience volunteering with Extreme Community Makeover. We are grateful for their service and happy to see their lives forever changed by the experience. We know Denver residents are also forever changed by the volunteers’ acts of kindness.