“What I like about Lion’s Heart is there is a really nice feeling of giving back to people who have given a lot to us. It’s also really fun because we get to hang out with our friends while doing good for the community,” says Declan Swift, one of a group of local teens with the South Pasadena chapter of Lion’s Heart.
Lions’s Heart is a national teen volunteering organization with local chapters whose mission is to create a world of engaged teens who volunteer and grow into community leaders and to foster a life-long commitment to service.
Twelve 8th grade boys from South Pasadena formed their local chapter in 2017 and have been engaged in various volunteer activities together. From gardening in Debs Park to collecting trash on Coastal Clean Up Day to “volun-cheering” the dogs and owners in the Rose Bowl Wiggle Waggle Walk, these boys are helping their community and building strong connections along the way.
Lion’s Heart member Aiden Donnelly tells us, “Not only does volunteering help the community, but it also helps the soul so that’s why I continue to do it and why I think other people should do it too.”
The group is led by parents Traci Fleming and Kristen Swift, who help support the boys and coordinate the volunteer activities. Fleming explains,”my daughter has been involved in Lion’s Heart for several years. It has such a positive impact on her, I wanted to give my son the same opportunity to learn the value of community service, so our local chapter was born.”
In October, one of their projects was “Wheels for Deals with Seniors”, which involved each boy pushing a wheelchair-bound resident from the Alexandria Care Center in Hollywood to the 99cent Store and helping them shop. Gus Eddy described the gentleman he met as very talkative and friendly and says he showed the man how to get on gmail and they discussed many things. Eddy found him to be very interesting and says, “it felt like it was fun for them and therefore fun for us too. I learned a lot from him!”
Of the experience Mason Fleming says, “I really enjoyed volunteering with the residents of Alexandria Care Center. If felt good to help them shop and to take them outside for a walk. They really just wanted to talk and you could tell we made them happy.”
The smiles on the faces of the seniors, the conversations had between young and old, and the patient and giving nature of the boys made this one of the best volunteering projects yet!