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For Good

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative to celebrate service during National Volunteer Week

Lamont Watkins (left) and Tim Clarke began their friendship through CYC mentoring


Without volunteers — those who give freely of themselves to make a difference in the community — nonprofits would be considerably less impactful. Cincinnati Youth Collaborative recognizes that fact and will be finding different ways to honor those who have helped it change the lives of 160,000 students throughout the past 30 years.
 
CYC will “Celebrate Service” this week and kick off National Volunteer Week festivities Thursday with a Thank-A-Thon, in which every CYC volunteer will receive a phone call so they know their work is appreciated. And on Saturday, Global Youth Service Day, CYC’s AmeriCorps College Guide team will lead service projects at Oyler School while CYC staffers, mentors, mentees and community volunteers join together to clean up and beautify Lower Price Hill.
 
For mentors like Tim Clarke, who’s volunteered with CYC for the past 21 years, the mentoring experience has led to joy for both him and his wife Sue.
 
“I began this relationship selfishly,” Clarke says. “Our youngest child went to college, and I missed that involvement.”
 
Clarke mentored Lamont Watkins, a student who was just 13 when the mentor/mentee relationship began, and it was so impactful on both that Clarke served as Watkins’ best man when he got married last fall.
 
When it came time for speeches, Clarke was unable to give the one he initially prepared. As he sat at his table for dinner, he noticed that rather than wedding favors there was a card placed at each seat indicating that Watkins and his wife would instead provide a gift to CYC in honor of each guest.
 
“I just had to thank him,” Clarke says. “For him to want a gift to give to CYC for this to happen to someone else, I got emotional. It was a great day.”

Do Good:

Volunteer with Cincinnati Youth Collaborative.

Support vulnerable students by making a gift.

• Thank a volunteer.
 

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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