The executive director of the state’s largest shelter for runaways says if you find you have less money in the current economy, that doesn’t mean you can’t give something to others. Stephen Quirk runs the Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (YESS) in Des Moines says volunteer time is one commodity that can be just as important as money.
Quirk says as a non-profit, donations of money are important, but he says they are always looking for volunteers and mentors at the facility and in the community to reach out to kids and help them cope with different circumstances. He says you don’t need any special skills to help.
Quirk says they run a criminal background check and do extensive interviews with all volunteers, beyond that he says they are looking for any adult who is willing to work with the kids. They have children from birth through age 17, and they try to link up kids with adults who are most comfortable dealing with them. Quirk says they get a lot of interest during the holidays, but can use help anytime during the year.
He says the kids that spend Christmas with them will have great time thanks to donations, but he says they are in need all year round and are always looking for donations and volunteers. Quirk says you can find out more at yessiowa.org, or call your local shelter and ask about volunteer opportunities.