Lyons Human Services & Aging
By Meg Waters
As soon as Lyons started to rebuild from last year’s flood, volunteers began coming from far and wide to help. They’ve done everything from digging mud out of houses to building decks, from spreading grass seed to interior
finishing work, and much, much more. Their efforts have been huge in helping individual families, and the town as a whole, recover. For many local volunteers, providing hands-on assistance has been personally fulfilling as well. That’s probably a big part of the reason why the Lyons Volunteers organization is thriving.
But one group has been left out of these efforts, young people. Lyons Volunteers hasn’t been able to accept assistance from those under eighteen years of age. For insurance reasons, the town requires that any deployments of young volunteers fall under the direct supervision of an adult employee. Until this week, Lyons didn’t have the staffing budget to support a youth volunteer effort.
Thanks to a grant from the Lyons Community Foundation, the town just hired locals Lucy Banta and Hazel Myers part-time to supervise kids engaged in volunteer projects this summer. Now young people ages twelve to seventeen can participate in bi-weekly deployments that take on projects similar to those of the Lyons Volunteers group. “Some will be directly flood-related, while others will be indirectly flood-related,” says Jeremy Matsen, Lyons-area volunteer and donations coordinator for the town. Projects may be located indoors or outdoors, anywhere around town. The work will be hands-on, and Banta and Myers will be tasked with making sure the young participants can handle the projects they’re assigned.
“These will be meaningful projects that give Lyons-area youth an age-appropriate way to contribute to the community,” says Adriana Blacker, Lyons’ community resource specialist. “They’re going to be making an impact, and hopefully they’ll walk away from the day feeling like they’ve accomplished something important.”