Fourteen-year-old Lucas Smith clearly remembers one of the first times he was bullied. He recalls being just four or five years old when some kids picked on him, taking off his glasses and throwing them in a sandpit. Lucas felt down after being bullied, but he soon found an outlet to channel his emotions into something positive.
In recent years, national leaders and community groups alike have called upon volunteers to help break down the income inequality gap by supporting disadvantaged youth and young adults. In response, organizations like United Way of Greater St. Louis have built and continue to maintain programs that support youth development. One of these programs is ServiceWorks, a national initiative that engages youth in finding solutions to some of their community’s most pressing issues.
"We’ve always tried to instill in our kids that you need to be involved in the community you live in and give back in some way,” said Beverly Winkler. It’s this very way of thinking that is at the core of the Winkler family’s giving spirit. For Beverly, her husband Wayne, 17-year-old daughter Cianna and 21-year-old son Zachary, giving back is a family affair that is a constant part of their very busy lives.
At just 15 and 12 years old, Abby and Riley Neff recognize the importance of the arts. “The arts are like a bridge,” said Abby. “They bring people together.” So when the girls realized that many kids in their community of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, didn’t have access to simple art supplies, they set out to find a solution. They thought of the most basic craft supply – crayons.