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At the Volunteer Center, our mission is to connect, empower, and transform the community
through purposeful volunteerism. Everything we do is connected to this mission – including our
youth programs. HYPE (Helping Youth Purposefully Engage) offers high school juniors across
the South Plains opportunities to learn leadership skills, learn and connect with the community,
and serve in the community. We are so inspired by our students who take the opportunity live
out the Volunteer Center’s mission in their own lives.

Helping Youth Purposefully Engage

In April, HYPE students served lunch at the Salvation Army. After Abrie Olquin helped with
serving lunch, she and other students went on a tour of the facility. Abrie was surprised when
someone asked about how feminine hygiene products were supplied for women who stay there
– it had never occurred to her that there were people who might have to go without. The rest of
the day, she thought about what she could do to help. In the coming days, Abrie approached her instructor, Emily Cook, at the Dance Gallery and asked if they could do a feminine hygiene product drive together. Emily was excited to help her make the drive a reality. They both thought Dance Gallery was a perfect group to do this through since it is predominantly female. Although they worked together, Emily said, “Abrie created all of the imagery and infographics used for the drive. She visited different classes in the studio and explained the issues homeless and low-income women face in obtaining period products. Abrie did a great job of bringing awareness to this issue.”

The Community’s Response

Abrie and Emily were both overwhelmed with the response of the Dance Gallery’s families –
over 100 packages of feminine hygiene products were donated for the Salvation Army!
Throughout the year, Abrie had heard from community leaders in Lubbock through HYPE and
had been inspired to do good. She turned that inspiration into action! She reached out to
others and connected them with her mission, giving many people an opportunity to help.
Because of her drive, Salvation Army has been able to make feminine hygiene products
available for women and girls. Erica Hitt, the Director of Lubbock’s Salvation Army center, said
it has been a huge blessing to have these products on hand since they are often needed and
rarely donated.

We live in a world where we are often discouraged in hearing about the needs of so many.
Many of us stay stuck in this, but Abrie’s story is a great example of what we can do beyond
thinking. Abrie connected with someone in her community who could help; she and Emily
empowered others to do the same; and they did a product drive to help transform the
community. What an inspirational story for us all!

Kayla Thrasher

Author Kayla Thrasher

More posts by Kayla Thrasher