As COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen over the past few months, 21st Mortgage employees were eager to return to the numerous volunteering opportunities around Knoxville with their peers.“When volunteering in the community, the most rewarding thing to me is the sense of fulfillment; it is heart-warming to take the time where I could be doing something else and using that time to help others.” – Wyatt Hollingsworth
Throughout the month of June, several groups volunteered their time and energy to Emerald Youth Academy, the only charter school in Knoxville. Kids leave school on June 5th and return on July 5th, so there is a very quick turnaround for faculty and staff when it comes to tasks that need to be done during the summer. The mission of Emerald Youth Academy is to increase the number of Knoxville students that graduate from eighth grade who are prepared for high school and college – it is statistically shown that children living in urban areas score 50% lower on tests than children in suburban areas and Emerald Youth’s goal is to drastically change this statistic for children living in Knoxville. Consequently, Emerald Youth Academy aims to alter the course and trajectory of urban youth by closing this achievement gap through investing in these kids and striving motivate their academic success in any way possible.
To help assist staff members of Emerald Youth Academy, 21st team members volunteered to fix fences, clean gutters, take care of landscaping, paint classrooms, organize materials, and move furniture and supplies in the building to prepare for the students’ return in early July. Through volunteering, these team members have helped to ensure that the kids will have a clean and safe space to come back to start a new school year – overall, this will help Emerald Youth Academy be successful in meeting its academic goals with these children.“The communities we grow up in are responsible for building and shaping us into the people that we become. The most rewarding part about volunteering in the community is receiving the opportunity to give back to the people who played such a vital role in shaping who I am, and to provide the best opportunities for the children of the community to grow and succeed in their endeavors.” – Reid Courtney
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