According to national US data, one in every four people volunteers each year. There are many reasons we love to volunteer: volunteering gives people the opportunity to give back, to learn new skills, and to interact with people they might not otherwise. It brings people together and gives them a sense of accomplishment about positively contributing to society.
Just as we have many reasons why we volunteer, our society also has certain ideas about who volunteers. When it comes to community service, a myth exists that people with disabilities are on the receiving end of service, rather than the serving end.
EPIC seeks to dispel that myth.
EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities) is a program of Triangle that empowers youth with disabilities to be actively engaged community leaders. One such group of young leaders with ability are the EPIC Service Warriors. The EPIC Service Warrior Team is a group of young leaders with disabilities between the ages of 16-23 who commit to a year of community service, teambuilding, and leadership development.
The 2017-2018 EPIC Service Warriors have already completed a collective 693 hours of community service in these first six months of their service year. Now, they’re preparing for their biggest service event yet: Boston Serve!
Boston Serve is EPIC’s annual fundraiser that brings volunteers throughout the community together for a day of service at a Boston Public School led by the Service Warriors. Much like a walk-a-thon, Boston Serve raises money that goes directly to EPIC’s innovative leadership programs– but instead of having people register to walk, they register to serve! AND, importantly, Boston Serve is an opportunity for Service Warriors to put what they have been learning during their service year into practice to see that not only can they serve, they can LEAD others in service!
On November 4, 2017, EPIC’s Service Warrior Team will be leading 200 community volunteers through a day of service at the Mildred Avenue K-8 School, a Boston Public School in Mattapan, for our 5th Annual Boston Serve. Each Warrior will lead a team of volunteers through a morning circle, the team’s service project, and a debrief before the end-of-day celebration.
What is it like to lead such a big event? Here’s what two of our Service Warrior Alums have to say:
“Being a part of Boston Serve is an amazing experience and feeling! For me it gets better and better every year! The best part for me is connecting with everyone through painting! I could only imagine everyone’s faces when we are done! As a Service Warrior and a Service Leader while doing Boston Serve I’ve learned a lot about myself. I am continuing to grow and continuing to figure out who I am because of it!” -Kamisha, SW ‘14 & SL ‘15
“Boston Serve showed me what EPIC is all about: first, that we all have the ability to lead, and secondly, that anything is possible with the support of my team. […] I effectively led a small group of people with the support of my teammate. I finally was able to see why the EPIC staff put us in this position: in our team debrief, we all found out that the EPIC staff knew we could lead, we just had to be put in a positionto lead.” -Sabryna, SW ‘15 & SL ‘16
To learn more, register, or donate to Boston Serve, visit BostonServe.org
We hope to see you there!