Toothy grins, mangoes helps AmeriCorp volunteer gain perspective

It all started with a toothy smile and from there Laurelwood found a forever spot in my heart. From swimming to hiking to eating juicy mangoes on the playground, this summer working with the children of Laurelwood and my fellow YMCA and AmeriCorps staff members was a whirlwind of laughter, fun, and love.

Most of all this summer was rewarding. Getting to know the children of the Laurelwood community and watch them grow over six weeks was an experience that has made me a better person by teaching me patience, how to best care for children, and teaching me how to have good old fashioned fun.

— Read how a grant helped to fund the kids’ camping trip

Her heart found a home at Laurelwood

Before this summer I was lost but I found a home at Laurelwood. Receiving tender hugs from the kids every morning guided me to the safe place in my mind and heart that I had been searching for. The kids of the Laurelwood community harbor a power that they don’t even realize they have. They have the power to change lives. My life was changed working for the YMCA and AmeriCorps this summer. My mind is clearer, my perspective is sharper, my heart is fuller.

Thank you to everyone who made this summer possible and so amazing, especially the children of Laurelwood.

Apply for our Y AmeriCorps opportunity today!

Jasmine Smith

2018-19 AmeriCorps Member
Intercollegiate YMCA