If you have children, and you attend our annual Fireworks & Freedom Concerts you probably know about the “Kids Zone” area of the event. The Kids Zone is a place where kids of all ages can play games, bounce on bounce houses, get their face painted, buy light up toys and enjoy carnival style snacks. We love that families of all sizes are able to enjoy this area year after year, however most that attend don’t know that the organizers of this area are actually all young adults from our local non-profit organization – Hands4Hope!
Hands4Hope is a group that provides service learning education and community engagement programs for students in the El Dorado County. Hands4Hope looks to develop all students’ leadership styles by allowing them to take the lead on projects and events while the adults coach and offer advice through the process. Each year, a hand full of students volunteer for the Kids Zone to either take a leadership or team member role. This is one of their larger events so a leadership role is a coveted position and a great learning opportunity. In order to be in a leadership role students must apply for a leadership internship then interview with an adult panel before starting, much like a job interview.
Each year in April five student committees organize and attended several planning meetings to decide who is in charge of which section, choose and contact vendors, research product prices compared to last year’s event, assemble sponsorships, manage their budget and much more. This year they even held a panel of children of different ages to test the glow toys to determine which toys would sell best.
On the day of the event all leadership arrives early to set up and to review all responsibilities. The rest of the volunteers arrive later on for training and dinner with the group before the event starts. This year’s Student Lead Allison, said that the most students want to volunteer for the Fireworks & Freedom Concert because it allows them to build real work experience and have fun at the same time.
After the event all leadership and their adult mentor meet again to debrief on what went well and what can be adjusted for the following year. All wristband, toy and food sales goes to their Youth Development budget to help fund their yearlong program. 2018 was their best year yet making over $9,000! We are very proud of the students that volunteer for this event and if you attend the Fireworks & Freedom Concert thank you for coming and supporting non-profits like Hands4Hope!