Phoenix has a ton of great opportunities when it comes to volunteer work, but taking that first step to getting involved in your community can be challenging.  Most of us think we couldn’t possibly dedicate any time to volunteer work because we’re already incredibly busy, so the thought rarely crosses our minds.

A few years back, I was in that boat.  I was working 40+ hours a week, had hobbies, and needed some social time with friends, and family.  I barely had any personal time, so the thought of dedicating any time to volunteering just wasn’t a consideration of mine.  Occasionally I would volunteer for a few hours at a food drive, but that was the extent of it.

It was then that I was introduced to New Pathways for Youth, a local non-profit that truly does make a difference, and has been doing so since 1987.  I had no idea what to expect going in, but I knew it was going to be intense, and require a lot of dedication on my end to make it work.  What I was not expecting, was what I would get out of it.

I started with a program called EXCEED which worked with high school students from around the valley.  30-40 mentors, and youth were sent to a camp in the woods, and forced to bond, not awkward at all…  When I say forced, I actually mean we bonded out of necessity.  Everybody was horribly awkward, and to survive those four days, we had to work together.  It was by far one of the more emotional four days of my life, you go in expecting to change the life of a youth, but end up also finding out a lot about who you are as a person.  This was a difficult realization for some, but definitely a beneficial experience for all.

After a couple years in the EXCEED program, I moved to the PALS program which involves a younger crowd, and so far I’m having a blast!  I currently dedicate 1-3 hours a week to my youth, and it has never felt like a chore.  NPFY does a great job at pairing mentors and youth, they have a system in place, and it works very well.  They take their time, and do their best to match you with the best option possible.

My reason for this post, is to spread the word about this awesome organization, they make a difference, but they could not do it without dedicated volunteers.  At this time they have 35 youth in need of  positive role models.  There are different programs available, so fitting around a schedule generally isn’t too difficult, but this does require dedication.  If you feel this may be something you’re interested in, I highly suggest doing some research, and finding out if it’s a good fit for you!

Check out the attached flyer for more info, or http://www.npfy.org/, you can contact Dina Reed at (602) 422-9264 or dreed@npfy.org if you have specific questions, or choose to hop on board!