For more than a decade, the Youth Group at Person-to-Person has been actively involved in the agency's programs, including staffing the reception area, where members greet clients and schedule appointments, as well as organizing and stocking the emergency food pantry and clothing center.
Comprised of students from high schools throughout Fairfield County, the Youth Group not only helps address the needs of people who come to P2P for assistance with basic necessities, it also provides the students an opportunity to practice and enhance their language skills (for those studying French or Spanish), interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.
According to Youth Group coordinator Amy Fraser, P2P is able to expand its services to meet the needs of the clients beyond regular office hours because of the students' involvement. "The students are generous with their time, working on Saturday mornings and after school on Thursdays, which is very much appreciated. And we are especially proud of the manner in which they conduct themselves when interacting with our clients" she said.
The Youth Group helps run the agency, making decisions regarding appointments and interacting with clients.
Each school year, students are selected to lead the Youth Group. This year, under the leadership of Elizabeth Renehan, who attends Lauralton Hall in Milford, and from Darien High School, Jane Bredahl, Dan Berkowitz, Megan Dunn, Logan Etheredge, John Mackie, Sebastian Rivero, Paula Tabascheck, Morgan Tienken and Kenny Yamaguchi and Riley Marsh, who attend King School in Stamford.
Youth Group raised money to fund purchase of new toys for the annual P2P Toy Store, a signature program providing toys and books to client children.
"It's rewarding to be able to help others in our community so they can have a better quality of life," Renehan said.
During the recent holiday season, Youth Group members assisted clients at the toy store and were responsible for overseeing the distribution of dozens of toys to those in need. For Youth Group members, the chance to work directly with P2P clients is appealing and rewarding.
"I really enjoy coming to Person-to-Person because of the opportunity to actually interact with the people we are helping," Tienken said.
The Youth Group meets most Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Fore information, call 203-655-0048.