Girls on the Run STL: Volunteer Spotlight

Melissa-Webster1Our very own Melissa Webster is currently being featured as this month’s Volunteer Spotlight on the Girls on the Run STL blog!

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program (PA-PYD) designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experience. The mission of Girls on the Run St. Louis is to empower girls for a lifetime of healthy living. Geared towards girls in the 3rd through 8th grade, Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Melissa is a director at an OHU residential program in Centralia, IL, as well as a coach for GOTR-STL. Check out this awesome feature, as she shares her story of beginning a fitness journey, reclaiming her life, and inspiring others.

Melissa Webster- Volunteer Spotlight



Centralia Junior High: You’re the Best!

At One Hope United, donations of school supplies are collected throughout the month of August in preparation for youth to go back to school. On Tuesday, August 19, a surprising new donation came from an unexpected place.

The Centralia Junior High School faculty and staff pulled up to the Centralia Residential site in a bus and asked to see one of our youth, who is a student at the school. They then all cheered as the youth came out of the Administration building to receive her gift: school supplies to start the new school year! They also chanted and shouted “YOU MATTER!”

The faculty and staff wanted to show students, parents and the community that they truly care about their students. We are so grateful that our youth was one of the four students the junior high staff chose to recognize and supply with the materials needed to start off the new school year successfully. Thank you, Centralia Junior High!

Camp Hope: An Experience to Remember

Summer camp provides children the chance to learn new skills, enjoy summer activities, make happy memories, and have fun.  The Centralia, Illinois campus is giving residential youth that opportunity with a new program modeled after summer camp.  Camp Hope, developed by local staff, gives youth a chance to explore their creativity and increase knowledge

During the morning, youth attend a Cooking, Arts, or Life Skills course with the goal that everyone gets to participate in all of the courses before the end of the summer.  Activities are designed to engage the campers in a variety of ways. During a recent Art class, for example, a magnified version of one youth’s fingerprint was placed behind art paper.  The youth then wrote down characteristics that make them unique, creating a visually striking pattern of text that followed the lines of the fingerprint.

Other youth participate in on-campus employment opportunities, giving them the chance to hone job skills while earning a little extra money for the school year.  The youth employees, who were required to apply for their jobs, help the “counselors” with the day’s camp activities, prepare lunch with the cook in the kitchen, or assist with other work around campus. 

After lunch and a short break, youth participate in a fun outdoor activity such as hiking, miniature golf, or swimming.  Camp Hope will culminate in early August with a group swim, an overnight camping experience at Camp Maranatha, and an end-of-season party.   

Thank you, Centralia staff, for taking that extra step to give the youth a great summer!

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