Roadpost #6: The Dilworth Poll

Last Tuesday, Dilworth Middle School, in Sparks, Nevada, held a Career Day fair. It was a scavenger hunt. Each table had the answer to one of the questions the students needed to know. Nevada Volunteers was responsible for the answer to this question: Where does Nevada rank in volunteering?

Jo Ella, our Higher Education Initiative Coordinator, and Racheal, a member of our UNR Student Group, did a great job getting their attention—not only by helping them guess the answer, but by explaining how volunteering could help them. Though volunteering, they might discover what they like to do. Plus, it will give them something to put on a job application.

I was at the fair, too, watching the shy and not-so-shy students exploring potential futures with representatives from local businesses. I was curious. What types of volunteering would these 8th graders do? I waded into the crowd to find out.

The kids were great. They were full of energy and curiosity. As soon as I spoke to one, others rushed over to find out what was happening. They loved being asked what they thought, and I enjoyed their enthusiasm. With the help of Juan—a student who volunteered himself spontaneously—we polled about fifty-five Dilworth 8th graders (roughly equal male and female). They made one or two selections from eight different options. Here are the compiled responses from students such as Emily, Isarel, and Esmeralda (seen in the photos above):

Where would you be most interested in volunteering?

In a food program for the hungry? 5 yes

In the outdoors? 13 yes

For a health organization fighting a disease? 5 yes

In a youth sports program? 15 yes

In an after-school program? 5 yes

Through your church? 7 yes

A program to help people read? 10 yes

At an animal shelter? 40 yes

It is no surprise that puppies and kittens won. I was impressed, though, with the fact that every category generated some interest from these young folks. As these students build their future, I see great promise that they will want to contribute to their communities in many ways. The potential is there. It is up to the adults in the world—parents, teachers, and nonprofits—to ignite it.

PS: Could you guess the answer to our scavenger hunt question? No? Well, Nevada is 50th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. We did beat New York!

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