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Volunteers Uplift Kids in Need

Kids in the Buckner Family Hope Center receive direct support from volunteers.

Many at-risk teens living in the West Dallas area struggle to see the importance of education, when attending school takes a back seat to finding food and shelter.

“You never know what that child is dealing with every day. I deal with kids that go home to no bed, no electricity, no food,” said Keri Pettis, Youth & Children Specialist at Buckner Family Hope Center. “A lot of my kids’ parents don’t have high school diplomas. The sense of urgency is just not there.”

Pettis leads Buckner Family Hope Center’s newly formed Teen Summit to encourage underprivileged youth to stay in school. To date, VolunteerNow, through VOLY.org, has supplied the program with five deeply-engaged and highly-skilled volunteer mentors who have a passion for educating youth. From parents to high school students, these volunteers hope to make a positive change in children’s lives by discussing everything from cyberbullying to mental health struggles.

“It’s meeting them where they are,” Pettis said. “When you do that, it’s really not hard to convince them to be great.”

Since the program started last September, about 70 children have come to learn academic and life skills.

“It’s really important that every child feels special in the environment, so volunteers definitely help a lot,” Pettis said. “It helps the kids be more at ease knowing they have someone to call on if they have an issue.”