YSI welcomed volunteers from Vanguard Charitable and the Comcast Digital Support Team to its Crittenton Family Support Center in August to host the Back to School Family Empowerment Pizza Party, complete with school supplies, pizza, dancing, and games.

With contributions of backpacks, binders, pens, pencils and other supplies, Vanguard Charitable and Comcast volunteers and donors reduced the worries of families who may not be able to afford the cost. About 115 children received supplies.

The event was centered on fun and encouragement for a good start to the school year. Children and families enjoyed live music, food, games, and activity stations such as face painting, sidewalk chalk art, giant Jenga, and corn hole. The volunteers had just as much fun.

“Volunteering at YSI is always an awesome experience. I look forward to it since we’re helping families in our own backyard. This time around we were able to interact with the children, act like children ourselves, and really have a great time with the community,” said Catherine Hart, a Comcast volunteer.

“The looks on the kids’ faces were priceless. It’s amazing what YSI has been doing to help families. This event makes me want to be more involved. To have different companies, organizations and youth advocates all contributing together made an immediate impact on the families,” said volunteer Jen Cramer.

The Vanguard Charitable and Comcast volunteer leads worked with YSI Marketing Manager and staff at Crittenton to organize the event, the first of its kind for YSI.

“The original idea for this event was for volunteers to collect and distribute school supplies to the families and distribute them to the families,” said Susan Brooks, co-organizer of the Vanguard Charitable team, which also presented YSI with a check for $2,500 on behalf of Vanguard Charitable. “Then we thought we make it more fun by building it out. The start of the school year can be stressful, so we thought we could make it more exciting by building the event beyond the supplies to other fun activities.”

Tanya, a mother of three children who participates in a program at Crittenton, said she appreciated the time and attention the volunteers focused on her family. The school supplies were also welcomed. “I have attended a lot of back-to-school events but this was the best one yet,” Tanya said. “I thought I was just going to get the supplies and go but I had more fun than my kids. The staff and volunteers are great, thank you for putting this together for us because we needed the help.”

If you would like to support a family with school supplies or make a contribution, please contact volunteer@ysiphila.org or visit www.ysiphilly.org

To see more pictures from this event visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ysiyouthserviceinc/