Hi-Hope Center hosts teens from international convention

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Friday through Monday, more than 1,000 of the Jewish community's leaders and 1,800 teenagers from 15 countries are attending the International Convention of BBYO in Atlanta, which is a Jewish teen movement. As part of the festivities, the teens are volunteering around metro Atlanta, including at Hi-Hope Center.

"The teens were all given a list with a short description of places to volunteer and 44 kids picked as Hi-Hope as their first choice," Yvonne Whitaker, director of development at Hi-Hope said. "I was surprised because we don't usually have kids who want to volunteer here. Adults with developmental disabilities don't always seem as appealing."

Today, 44 teenagers are coming for a full-day of learning about the center and volunteering with its attendees. The group is traveling up from Atlanta in two buses to learn about Hi-Hope and the needs and challenges that adults with developmental disabilities present. They will then work on small craft projects, play board games or enjoy music appreciation in small groups with the day program participants.

Afterwards, the teens will be debriefed on the day and ask any questions that they conjured while volunteering with the adults.

"I like that they're not just doing the service project, but learning about the people that they're studying," Whitaker said. "I think it's really neat because how well and planned this (day) is. It's a lot more work for us, but its going to be better experience for them."

For more information about BBYO, visit www.bbyo.org.