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Behind the scenes: One year as a volunteer

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Callahan Craft Table 2

Callahan at the Empty Bowl Dinner


We are so grateful to Callahan Freeman, of Williston, VT who spent this past school year completing her 8th Grade Challenge by helping our youth. From September through June, Callahan volunteered in our office, collected donations, helped out at the Empty Bowl Dinner, cooked meals for our Drop-In Center, and participated in the Student Sleep Out.

Callahan collected donations of art supplies and winter coats throughout the fall semester. Her idea to collect donations brought her whole community together. As she put it, “Most youth coming into [Drop-In] don’t have much. They usually can’t afford warm clothes. That’s why I asked my community to donate clothing.”

Coat Drive Callahan Freeman

Callahan’s amazing coat drive for our youth!

Callahan said she learned a lot by collecting donations: “I was shocked by how many donations I received!” she told us. “I thought about all the people I was giving the coats to .  . . they were so thankful for everything. It feels really good to give back to my community and people in need.”

At the Empty Bowl Dinner, Callahan volunteered by setting up an arts and crafts table, and she also got a chance to hear from Kim, a young person who lived in our shelter and who told her story at the Empty Bowl. “[Kim] said that before Spectrum, she had nothing. Spectrum gave her the right things she need to succeed in her future. . . She thanked many people for helping her through her journey. It makes volunteering at Spectrum feel like I can help many people.” And that is exactly what Callahan did.

Twice, she cooked dinner for the youth who access our Drop-In Center. What was on the menu? Baked ziti, salad, chili, cornbread, and dessert. Callahan said, “I could see people’s faces light up when they saw the meals. Those looks made me happy. I had put effort into the meals, and seeing their faces made volunteering ten times better.”

Viki Food Donation

Thanks for the delicious dinner, Callahan!

In March, Callahan recruited her classmates to participate with her in the Spectrum Sleep Out. In solidarity with our youth, Callahan raised funds and slept outside overnight with her team, the Williston Wildcats. You can be part of next year’s Sleep Out! Mark your calendars for March 23rd, 2017, and email events@spectrumvt.org if you want to participate.

Reflecting on the past year working with our youth, Callahan said, “It is very inspiring to learn about kids and teens near my age, that live in my community, and how they work through their struggles. I have learned by doing little things to help, I can make a big difference for someone’s life in need.”

Callahan has made a big difference for our youth, and she learned a lot, too. In her words, “It felt good inside to change people’s lives.” Thank you, Callahan!


You can help our youth, too, by signing up for our volunteer list or by donating items on our wish list. When you donate today, you are making sure our youth get help to turn their lives around. Thank you!

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