Youth Villages stories
Volunteer Spotlight – Henry Boyd
Youth Villages is grateful to have dedicated community volunteers who are invaluable resources for our staff and youth. They motivate and inspire by giving their time, knowledge and hearts to support the mission and values of our organization.
Henry Boyd, a volunteer for more than 20 years, has been a dedicated volunteer with Youth Villages’ Runners Club, which is coordinated by staff member Paul “Spunky” Ireland. This volunteer program teaches youth in residential treatment about setting goals and offers a sense of achievement through running. In addition to the physical benefits associated with running, youth learn important coping and life skills. The group meets several times a week on our residential campuses and attends one local 5K a month.
While attending a local community runners meeting, Henry heard Paul make an announcement about starting a runners club at Youth Villages’ Bartlett Campus. Paul was in need of additional help on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
“I initially thought I would give Paul a hand for a few weeks to get it started,” Henry said Boyd. “And here I am, many years later.”
After a few sessions of running with the kids and getting to know them, Henry came to realize that most of the kids looked forward to Runners Club. The program fosters social and relational skills while teaching kids healthy coping skills and an activity that they can use throughout life.
“It is motivating to see some of the kids make real progress,” Henry said. “As volunteers, we can help the kids by doing something that we like to do.’’
As a longtime volunteer, Henry has become an ambassador for Youth Villages by spreading awareness about the work of the organization, as well as in helping raise funds.
“Many people over the years have asked me what Youth Villages is,” Henry said. “I usually tell them that it is a nonprofit that helps troubled children and their parents live together through various programs such as residential treatment and in-home counseling.”
Even at the age of 75, you can find Henry on Tuesdays and Saturdays volunteering and encouraging the youth.
“The thing I most enjoy about volunteering at Youth Villages is the interaction between the kids, the staff and the other volunteers,” he said. “It is like having a large extended family – except I don’t have to remember any birthdays.”
Henry’s impact on the children served is immeasurable, as there is no value you can place on the influence a caring adult can have on a group of kids.
‘’Volunteers like Henry dedicate their time and talent to make meaningful contributions to our organization and program,” Paul said. “We are so appreciative for all of his efforts to make a difference in our youth’s lives.”