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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Tag: volunteering

Sep 13

Food Pantry, Food Bank, and Soup Kitchen- The Differences & How You Can Help

Posted By iamincontrol | September 13, 2016

Community ServiceFood banks, food pantries, and food kitchens are commonly known as meal programs but each have a specific role in feeding the community. Knowing what each program offers is a great way to know your options if you or others are in need. It is likely that there are also volunteer opportunities for these programs that may spark your interest. Below is a breakdown of what each food program does!

Food Bank: Mass Food Storage and Delivery

A food bank stores millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. Food banks collect and store food that are then distributed to local food pantries, charities, and meal programs. So, food banks don’t give food directly to people but are the warehouses that stores the food that is sent to the food pantry. Volunteers at food banks often package and sort foods into boxes to be sent to the pantries. Volunteering at a food bank means that you will be working in a warehouse- so close toe shoes and appropriate clothing are a must! There are also volunteer opportunities including working on paperwork, office tasks, marketing, cleaning/organizing, and IT services. For more information on food bank locations visit: 

Food Pantry: Food Receivers and Distribution to People

A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to the community directly. Food pantries put together packages of unprepared food for people who have homes but don’t necessarily have the means to feed their families on their own. Volunteering at a food pantry could be a good option if you want to work more closely with your community. Volunteers pack food to distribute to families in need, organize and pick up donations, and sometimes deliver the food packages or let people shop like at the grocery store. For more information on food pantry locations visit:

Soup Kitchen: Prepare Food Directly for People

Soup kitchens make food directly for people at a free or reduced cost and have people gather and eat a meal. Soup kitchens are now often called “meal programs” since they usually aren’t just serving soup. Volunteers could prepare meals, organize food supplies, serve the food, or help cleaning up. Volunteering at a soup kitchen is another great way to get to know individuals in your community since you serve them directly. For more information on soup kitchen locations visit:

Here is a list of all of the food pantries and banks in Iowa:

Aug 18

Benefits of Volunteering

Posted By iamincontrol | August 18, 2016

There are many reasons people choose to volunteer: to put on a resume, to get an extra honor in school, to fulfill a requirement, etc. It seems like the importance of volunteering is lost on extra pressure to volunteer. We all have busy lives and it seems like we need more motivation to do extra things like volunteer these days. But volunteering is a great thing to do for others and incredible for your self worth!

There are so many volunteer opportunities in every community and you can even cater them to your interests. If helping those less fortunate is an interest of yours, your local homeless shelter, food pantry, soup kitchen, or day care facility could be good options for you. If you also have a passion for furry critters the animal shelter is a good option as well. Volunteer opportunities with animals range from keeping the shelter clean and tidy to training animals to be suitable for adoption. For the environmentalist in you, there are opportunities to pick up Volunteer speech bubble hanging on a stringlitter, clean up and fix infrastructure at parks, or help environmental education through places like your local community center. LGBT clubs often need volunteers to help with community outreach or to help run local events. If sports are your thing, you can also volunteer as a referee or coach, usually through the recreation center.

It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Participating just one afternoon is worth your time. Use the internet to find opportunities in your town and check out the following link to learn more about the benefits of volunteering to you:

Dec 3

Winter Break Activities

Posted By iamincontrol | December 3, 2013

Mittens & hat
The results are in!  In November we asked you, “What do you plan on doing over your holiday break?” 

You said:

  • Spending time with family (20%)
  • Hanging out with friends (60%)
  • Working extra hours (0%)
  • Playing sports (0%)
  • Relaxing and nothing else (20%)

We think a mix of all those things would be a great way to spend your holiday break.  Plus, we have some more ideas to share with you that you might not have thought of.

  1. Learn a new hobby – Winter break is a great time to learn something new.  You probably have a big chunk of free time, which is rare for teens.  Learn something new like knitting (chunky scarves are definitely in right now), photography, or a sport you don’t normally play.
  2. Read More
Oct 31

Branching Out

Posted By iamincontrol | October 31, 2013

Branching out
By Nicola

Middle school and high school was an awkward time for me. It felt like everyone else around me was blossoming so gracefully and crossing the line into a beautiful young adult. I felt like I was trying to swim across quick sand with weights around my ankle to cross the line with them.

I struggled with being antisocial and coming out of my shell. I was always too quiet and shy, and those qualities cannot be plugged into the formula for making friends.

It was not until my junior year of high school that I decided to become more proactive about my lack of social life. I joined lots of clubs all at once: televised journalism as a videographer, print journalism as a cartoonist, and tennis. They were a lot of fun, and although I still had not made any special connections the first few months, I was getting recognized everywhere and I had tons of fun on the outings. I started making special bonds with my club-mates, and that made it easier to talk to them. Soon, I became more knowledgeable and cultured about journalism and sports, and it gave me a broadened perspective. I had a lot more to talk about with others, even those who did not go to school with me.

As time progressed, I found myself hanging out with my club members on a regular basis and getting absorbed into their group of friends. It happened very naturally. I had much in common with them, and I did not have to suffer through many hours of small-talk. After joining the clubs, I actually had opinions on matters and did not just shrug off a question or shyly fade away with mortification once someone asked me a question.

Read More

Oct 1

Affordable Activities to Do with Friends

Posted By iamincontrol | October 1, 2013

Popcorn for movie night
The results are in!  Here was last month’s poll question:

Do you ever avoid hanging out with friends for financial reasons?

  • Yes. Everything we do costs money (going to the movies, going out to eat, etc.). (42%)
  • No. My parents pay for everything. (42%)
  • No. I have a job and like spending my money doing stuff with my friends. (14%)
  • I spend most of my time in sports or activities that do not cost money. (0%)

If you ever avoid doing things with your friends because you don’t have the money, try one of the activities below to save some cash.

  • Organize a game night – Maybe board games don’t sound that exciting, but they can be really fun.  Apples to Apples is especially hilarious to play with your friends, and chances are, at least one of your friends owns it.
  • Read More
Sep 19

Inspiration after Loss

Posted By iamincontrol | September 19, 2013

By Mary
State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC)

Watching cancer take the life of my friend was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced. When I entered middle school, I met a boy named Dylan. He was extremely intelligent and naturally a good leader. He was active and successful in so many athletic, musical, and academic opportunities. Soon I learned he had cancer and that his leg was amputated in fifth grade. This did not stop him from doing everything in life that he loved. During his time at school he always had a positive attitude, never complained, and always turned in exceptional work. The most amazing thing about Dylan was that he was able to do what most students couldn’t even do while still fighting a life threatening disease. I worked at our school store with Dylan and on also on our leadership team. My best memory with him was my eighth grade year when we were on the same mock trial team that made it to the state competition.

After eighth grade we went to separate high schools, and I didn’t have as much contact with him. In the meantime, I was admitted to the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council and gained the position of service chair. When I was looking for service projects for our council, I automatically thought of Dylan and proposed the idea of sewing bandannas for youth cancer patients. By November I heard his condition had gotten worse, so I made the first Iowa Hawkeye bandanna for him and sent it in the mail as fast as I could with a note explaining how he inspired me. I received the news the next day, November 26th, that he passed away.

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Aug 1

A Step Outside the Norm

Posted By iamincontrol | August 1, 2013

Group of teenagers
By Haley

When I was a teenager it seemed like all the “cool” kids were in all of the sports. If I wanted to be as cool as the popular kids then I had to be in sports too. This did not seem too difficult except I was not athletic. I struggled with the choice between playing sports or quitting because I’m not athletic. Should I continue to struggle at sports and be unhappy? Every time I played a sport I was not enjoying myself. I was embarrassed I was not as fast as the others and was disappointed because I never got very much playing time.

After playing sports in middle school and my freshman year of high school I decided to make a change. I made the difficult decision to stop playing sports. Now that I was not involved in sports I had to find other ways to get exercise, but my decision to stop playing sports was a great choice for me.

Read More

Jun 4

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Summer Job

Posted By iamincontrol | June 4, 2013

Girl with summer job
The results are in!  Last month’s poll was:

Is having a summer job important to you?

You said:

  • Definitely.  It keeps you busy and helps your bank account.  (87%)
  • I’m too busy with summer sports to have a job.  (0%)
  • Nope.  I’m going to hang out with my friends all summer.  (0%)
  • No way, summer is for sleeping and watching TV.  (13%)

We definitely agree and think summer jobs are really important.  Here are some of the reasons why you should be looking for a job this summer.

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Summer Job

  1. Add to your resume. – Future employers and colleges are going to be looking for previous experience.
  2. Learn interview skills. – Knowing what it takes to ace a job interview will come in very handy later.  You might not ace your first one, but every bit of practice helps.
  3. Learn to deal with rejection. – Even if you don’t get the job you wanted, you will learn what it’s like to be rejected for a job.  This won’t be the only time rejection happens in your life, so the earlier you learn to cope, the better.
  4. Read More
May 16

Getting Involved

Posted By iamincontrol | May 16, 2013

 Getting involved
By Ariana 

Why should I be involved?

I gave this question much thought during my high school years and even into my freshman year of college. Throughout my high school days, I would rather spend time with friends than organizing events for clubs. It wasn’t until after my freshman year of college I realized why it was so important to become involved. The first thing that hit me was my identity. I am a woman, Latina, and I am young. All of these groups are underrepresented. I wanted to show the world what I could do, I wanted the groups I identified with to be seen and heard! My next reason was because I wanted to learn. Yes, learn. I know we all learn enough in our classes, but there is plenty more to learn in real life. There are different people, events, food and activities – the list goes on and on. We can learn a new task, meet a new friend, taste a new food, and learn from all these experiences. All of these new experiences are like mini adrenaline rushes. At first you’re nervous or scared, and then boom, you’re surprised by what you learn.

Where can I get involved?

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Dec 20


Posted By iamincontrol | December 20, 2012

By Brittany

Have you ever felt that warm, fuzzy feeling when you have accomplished something great?  Have you ever overcome an obstacle that you didn’t think was possible?  Those feelings are so powerful, and it’s even better when you know you’ve made a difference.

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