Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summertime is approaching, and although we aren't kids anymore (which means gone are the nearly three-month-long summer breaks), there are plenty of opportunities to support youth in our communities. I've found, over the years, this is when many youth programs and nonprofit organizations are in great need of volunteers and mentors. I encourage you to get involved, whether it's in a long-term capacity with one organization or you're supporting various events throughout the coming weeks and months.

On Saturday, I volunteered with the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation's annual football camp. The Carolina Panthers' star, Thomas Davis, puts on the free event for Charlotte youth and invites several of his teammates and other players and coaches from around the NFL to provide a day of fun, sports training, and motivation for the kids (fellow Panthers Luke Kuechly, Ryan Kalil, and Jonathan Stewart were among those in attendance; watch the video of Davis' camp). The camp is a part of TDDDF's annual charity weekend, which also included a fundraising party Friday night at the Harvey B. Gantt Center (also attended and supported by several NFL players).

As I helped with the camp registration Saturday morning, and the kids walked up one by one to check in, it reminded me why I love giving my time to serve youth. Just seeing the looks on their faces -- excitement, enthusiasm, and even shyness for some -- took me back to when I was their ages, and had the benefit of men in my community positively impacting my life (from my father to my Boy Scout troop leaders and recreation league coaches).  

Out here supporting the man of the year @td58 with his football Champ Charlotte #defendingdreams #keeppounding

A photo posted by Jonathan Stewart (@jonathanstewar1) on

Below is a quick video I captured with my phone of the TDDDF camp kids shouting their excitement at the end of the day's activities.

I look forward to volunteering with youth throughout this summer, and I hope you will too! Follow me on Twitter @HollidayInk, where I often share details on volunteer and charitable opportunities in Charlotte.

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