Invisible Youth Network 02.24.2010

Written by David Green.

A new Fulton County organization that involves youths helping other youths got off the ground earlier this month. The next meeting of the group is scheduled at 6 p.m. Monday at the Tedrow Methodist Church, 1799 County Road J.

The Invisible Youth Network (IYN) began three years ago in San Diego, Calif., and chapters have spread across the country. The organization was formed to assist homeless youths, but local chapters are looking at a wide range of needs in their own communities.

Youngsters between the ages of seven and 19 are invited to join IYN to make a difference through volunteering, said Fulton County Chapter leader Renée Bernheisel.

“Specific areas of focus will depend on the youths in our group and where they choose to focus their talents, time and funds,” she said. “Our goal is to make this as meaningful and enjoyable as possible for all involved.”

IYN aims to support the leaders of tomorrow by listening to their ideas today. Young people should be given a voice in issues that affect them, Bernheisel said. She said the approach of adults making the decisions for youths—without any voice from youths—has failed. Their ideas and solutions should be taken seriously.

IYN gives youngsters an avenue to serve as volunteers in a variety of ways to help improve the lives of others not so fortunate. The Fulton County Chapter will offer its services to other existing groups, as well as launching efforts of it own.

At a meeting earlier this month, members decided to assist with projects at Archbold’s NOAH house; provide assistance at the Tiffany Bates benefit March 6; work at the Centennial Therapeutic Riding Center near Wauseon;  raise funds to “adopt a bedroom” at The Open Door in Delta; and help publicize the new county Humane Society.

Additional volunteer activities will be discussed at the March 1 meeting.

To help organize the new IYN chapter, participating youths are asked to give a $5 donation—no more than $15 for any one family—to buy office supplies and reward items.

• For more information, call Renée at 419/388-9842 or Robin at 419/388-3814. The group’s website address is www.wauseonrocks.com.

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