Formally established in the spring of 2004, YouthWorks unites the various youth programs at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and The Memorial Foundation, providing an avenue for youth to serve their community and gain invaluable life experiences in community-building and philanthropy.
A consistently strong volunteer program at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital has evolved, over the years, to include job shadows and internships for youth in our community, developing professional skills in the medical and administrative fields. There have always been youth volunteers at the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. With the advent of Children’s Village, however, the need for compassionate young people only became more and more evident. The development of programs like one2one and Kids on the Block sustains itself, in large part, due to the kind hearts of peer mentors and educators. The amity of these kids demonstrates that every day, empathy is not simply common courtesy but a moral imperative. And their grace refuses to end there.
In 1997, YouthWorks fundraising started when Eisenhower High School hosted a Dance Marathon—a charity event sweeping college campuses across the country, however untried at the high school level. The event was so successful, the students’ response was so enthusiastic, it took off on its own and the Misters Pageants soon began—first with Eisenhower and then adding West Valley, East Valley and Toppenish High Schools. In 2007, Davis and Sunnyside High Schools joined the boys’ pageant program, and, this year, we happily welcome Wapato High School. Over 12 high schools throughout the Yakima Valley have been involved in some way or other benefitting children’s healthcare programs at Children’s Village and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. Since that day in 1997, with the help of countless other kids and adults along the way, we at YouthWorks have raised almost $750,000.
YouthWorks creates young philanthropists. Through understanding the hardships, as well as watching the successes that come with simply leading healthy lives for some, our students learn how they can play a part in making their community a better place in which to live. By both volunteering and fundraising, we are able to affect change. The following are the documents, ideas, places, thoughts, events, and prayers that have guided that change.