Giving Back: STS Boys Serve Ronald McDonald House

On March 12, TeamSTS Youth Advocate Dan Barber, Volunteers Allan Hearl and Mike DeWein, and six young men of Freedom Hall visited Ronald McDonald House for a morning service project. I am realizing more and more the value of our servant leadership trips. Work projects such as our experience at Ronald McDonald House provide opportunities to allow our young men to step out of their comfort zone and serve others who are less fortunate. Our most recent project was an outdoor work project at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH).  Once a month, RMH invites volunteers to have an “outdoor work party” and help beautify their grounds.  Each of our young men really stepped up to the plate and worked hard, trimming bushes, scraping moss, raking leaves, and pulling weeds.  I had the opportunity to have an awesome conversation with one of our young men, Jorge, while he and I were pulling weeds.

I said to him, “You know Jorge… I think I am learning a valuable lesson today.” He asked me what I was talking about and I said, “I think just about any job or responsibility no matter how boring or repetitious can be pretty enjoyable or even fun if done with the good company.”  Jorge kind of brushed off my remarks like he heard them but didn’t really give them much thought. So I asked him, “Jorge, do you think pulling weeds is fun?” “Heck no, Mr. Barber Shop”, he replied.  So I asked him, “so why do you think you are having fun today?” He paused for a moment then replied, “I don’t know.”  A little later on in the morning Jorge and I were Hunting Lions (aka dandelions) and he yells to one of our other young men, “Hey Melvin, you should come pull weeds with us it’s fun; anything can be fun if you do it with the right company.”  I thought to myself…’yep, this is why we do what we do!’

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Stop the Violence

Recent headlines are a grim reminder of Sacramento’s longtime problem of youth violence. In a city that has seen more than its share of teenage shootings and killings, you’ve got to wonder if and when it will end. Even though Sacramento experienced fewer crimes in 2010, serious violent crimes went up—criminal homicides and felony assaults—which include non-fatal shootings and stabbings. In 2009, Sacramento had 33 homicides involving 10 to 24 year olds, many of who have been raised fatherless.

For fatherless boys in Del Paso Heights, the future is bleak. It is more likely that they will parent before age 20, abuse drugs and join a gang than go to college, have a career and own a home. When a father is absent in a boy’s life, positive examples and mentors, like those at Shoulder To Shoulder, assume great importance.

Boys like Andrew are feeling God’s love through the mentors at Freedom Hall. Andrew participated in the program while attending Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy; he is now a 10th grader at Natomas High School. He says “The mentors teach us how to be a man. We have no other male figures to look up to.”  Andrew likes sports, particularly basketball, and is thinking about becoming a doctor someday. Like the other boys at Freedom Hall, Andrew says he wants to attend college because he has been encouraged by his mentor. Andrew has gained a positive outlook because he has someone who believes in him. But he worries about other boys who don’t come to Freedom Hall. What will happen to them?

With more mentors, volunteers and financial support, together we can end the cycle of fatherlessness in Del Paso Heights.

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Freedom Hall Award Night – May 26th

On May 26nd, Freedom Hall will be holding its Student Award and Volunteer Appreciation night from 6 to 8 p.m. Team and Individual awards handed out for outstanding character, GPA increase and more. We will also be recognizing our volunteers who serve our young men involved with Freedom Hall. A light snack will be provided for the event. We hope that you will join us as we celebrate the dedication of our volunteers and the accomplishments of our Young Men.

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STS Recognized for Making A Difference

With great pride we report that on January 16, 2011, STS Founder and President Bill Coibion received a 2011 Difference Maker Award presented at Sacramento’s 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration for his work with children and youth. This award is given to individuals who demonstrate excellence in both faith and service in the greater Sacramento area. This prestigious peer award is recognition of both courage and sacrificial leadership. Past recipients have included Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Superior Court Judge Troy Nunley.

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