Giving Youth the Support They Need to Thrive

Daily Point of Light # 6550 Jun 27, 2019

Dani Frappier worries about young people. The retired nurse, mother and grandmother feels that it’s her duty to try to make the world a safer place right now for youth facing pressures from all sides.

A life-long volunteer, in a range of venues from school and church to local soup kitchens, Dani is most passionate about volunteering with Maximum Freedom, Inc, an education non-profit that empowers teens to reach their maximum potential through risk avoidance. She spends up to four days a week with the program, which focuses on issues including reducing risky behaviors like using drugs and alcohol, exposure to violence and decreasing unwanted pregnancy and STDs. By volunteering with MFI, Dani feels she is helping to shape the future citizens and leaders of America into their best selves.

Dani is committed to making a difference in her community and she is today’s Daily Point of Light Award honoree. Points of Light spoke with her about her commitment to service.

What inspires you to volunteer?
I have a strong desire to help others. I grew up in a multi-generational home — my mom was widowed before I was born, so we lived with her family until I was eight. Kindness, helpfulness, friendliness and Christian beliefs were practiced and supported. I am a registered nurse with a background in pediatrics and geriatrics and I’ve taught pre-school Sunday school for decades. want America’s future to be shaped by citizens and leaders who have high self-respect – not a high self-serving attitude, as well as skills to make solid, important decisions.

Describe your volunteer role?
I started with MFI as a t-shirt delivery person. The students who finished the online self-reflection quiz and completed a course offered through the school’s health education classes get t-shirts. I’d pick them up from a volunteer’s home and deliver them to the schools. I also helped with fundraising banquets, getting donations for the silent auction and working the event. In 2018 I attended an all-day workshop in Columbus, Ohio (about 90 minutes away) so I would be better educated on the type of issues that school children in Ohio are exposed to and how we can help them.

Why is it important to you to support your community in this way?
Sadly, America as a whole has seen a decline in the family unit and family values. I want future generations to grow up feeling loved and valued; to thrive and become prosperous, responsible adults. Young people miss out on opportunities when they have an unwed pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, are the victim of violence, suffer emotional turmoil from poor choices, or abuse drugs. An entire community profits from productive citizens and suffers when their members cannot help or support themselves.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your volunteer service?
The most challenging aspect is time management and logistics. Since I also volunteer for other organizations plus provide childcare for my grandchildren several days per week, I often am juggling a crazy schedule!

Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Giving back helps a person keep learning. Giving back helps improve the community you are a part of. Giving back will let you meet new people- whether it is those you are serving alongside, or those who are being served by you. The best part is that you will feel like you were lifted up.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
For me, the most rewarding part is learning about and connecting with young people. My own children are 24-34, so I am out of touch with what happens in schools, social media and peer pressure. Today, with less parents being the direct caregiver for their children and the influence of the internet and TV, it becomes a new playing field.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
Through it all, I learned that while it develops leadership skills, requires organizational skills, interpersonal skills, time management, and being a team player, the best part is the I often feel I have been the one BEING served! Sometimes it was simply a kind word or a sincere thank you that made the difference and brightened my day.

What do you want people to learn from your story?
We can all make an impact! And that the old adage “you only get back what you put in” is partially true – usually you get back MORE than you put in. Whatever you are passionate about is out there and in need of your volunteering hours.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Dani? Click here for local volunteer opportunities.

Beth D'Addono