Daily Point of Light # 1834 Feb 13, 2001

Robyn Skodzinsky, a first-hand witness to the negative effects of alcoholism and drug use, opted to establish a positive path for her life and to help others in need.

Skodzinsky had to take initiative early in life to survive. She has had to make tough choices but is now benefiting from the same. Now she has accepted the challenge of being a part of the Corporation for National Service – AmeriCorps. She began her service at a therapeutic preschool program. There was no curriculum in place for the children, so she soon went to work. She developed lesson plans with weekly themes and age appropriate activities the children can participate in daily. She also has organized weekly field trips that complement their themes. She looked at the activities that were successful and created an activity box for future AmeriCorps volunteers. The box now includes over 30 themes that have more than 20 various activity ideas, suggested readings, and field trip information.

Skodzinsky is also an excellent organizer. She was called upon to organize activities for a Christmas party on four days notice. She recruited many volunteers and developed and implemented activities for the 50 children ages 1 – 16. This task was a challenge for her but she pulled it off and the children celebrated the season with a clown and lots of laughter. In addition to her organization skills, she has also learned and cultivated teambuilding. When her site was closed for restructuring, Skodzinsky and the other staff members had to work with outside consultants to reconstruct and rebuild their program. Though it was an intense time, the team worked together and played an indispensable role in their program’s success thus far.

Skodzinsky has also acted as a mentor to middle school children. She and another AmeriCorps member created a self-esteem/adventure group that reached out to middle school girls. The group was set up to ease the difficulties of the youth, give female companionship, promote confidence, and have fun. She has served as a mentor while also helping the young ladies recognize the importance of service by participating in various projects together.

In addition to this, Skodzinsky helped refurbish Bait House, a site used for therapeutic and academic after-school groups. The place was in a state of disarray and made the children feel overwhelmed just as they felt in other areas of their life. Skodzinsky recognized that the site needed help so she cleaned, sorted, and gave away some of the items. After the 12 hour cleaning day, Bait House was revitalized and another proposal was presented to the administration team to further refurbish the house. The proposal was passed and within two weeks and 50 hours of work, the Bait House was ready for its summer camp session. Skodzinsky’s second year of service was spent working in a shelter for homeless and runaways ages 10 to 17. She also spent time answering a 24-hour crisis line, handling calls that ranged from helping the homeless to helping those who were suicidal. Her service for over two years totaled 3,400 hours. Serving has been an awesome opportunity to Robin Skodzinsky. It has helped her grow and in turn helped others develop. She will continue to provide enriching, innovative, and ongoing activities in the future.