Preteens Will Spend Saturday Helping Boise's Homeless

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Approximately 40 fifth- and sixth-graders from throughout the Treasure Valley will spend part of their Saturday, not at the mall or in front of a TV, but learning firsthand of some of the challenges facing Boise's homeless population.

“The participating organizations got together because we thought there was a void in leadership opportunities for fifth- and sixth-graders,” said Melissa Thomsen, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Thomsen’s organization is partnering with Girl Scouts of Silver Stage, Boys and Girls clubs of Ada County and Nampa, Treasure Valley Family YMCA, United Way of Treasure Valley and the Boise School District, to sponsor the Youth Leadership Collaborative, the umbrella organization of the community service effort.

Thomsen said the YLC—which started three years ago—has seen tremendous success. The goal of the initiative is to promote positive leadership and to allow younger students the chance to give back. Each organization selects their own candidate to participate based on leadership potential and available opportunities. The YLC then allows students to take the reins, choosing their own projects.

“We help guide the students,” said Thomsen. “They tell us what ideas they have come up with, and we do the research to provide the resources.”

The students will spend Saturday afternoon at Corpus Christi House, a Boise day shelter, which helps dozen of homeless on any given day. In particular, the students will help organize the shelter's many donations.

“It’s a unique opportunity for many of these children who might not otherwise realize their natural abilities,” said Bob Rainville, member of the Boise Sunrise Rotary Club, one of the Saturday event's sponsors.

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