Kendall Stark is the Director of the Denver chapter of New Expression, and she has been leading the Community Outreach workshops for youth in the Denver area. In a recent interview, she explained why she started the class, and why she feels it’s necessary:
“Community service is my favorite component of New Expression. Our culture is very centered around self, and consumed with what we ‘want,’ so a service workshop is a perfect way to push outside our comfort zones to help people. Making those connections with others is beautiful. I absolutely LOVE seeing the kids engage with the community!” Kendall has noticed that while the young volunteers may not initially feel they can relate with the people they serve, as they get into it, they find they actually do have a lot in common.
Kendall has worked to form a partnership between New Expression and the Victorian House (an assisted living facility) in Parker. “The kids have a great time talking with the residents, playing games and doing art projects.” She takes a group to the Victorian House several times a month.
This Spring, Kendall has designed part of the workshop to especially focus on our youngest participants, those age 4-8. She feels there is a very special gift that this age group can give, especially to our elderly community. “It’s incredible to see how the residents respond to the youngest kids. It is powerful! Part of my goal for this workshop is to provide opportunities for our kids to make connections with our older community members on a regular basis. So both groups can have these positive experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
She also is developing service projects to support the work of the Ronald McDonald House in the area, and The Crossing (a homeless shelter).
Kendall believes that giving back to the community is an enriching experience for youth of all ages, and adults as well. She plans to expand this program in the seasons to come. “Any age is welcome to come!” She said in closing. “There is fun to be had by all!”