You(th) Matter

When youth are involved in volunteerism, they develop an early understanding of what it means to have a giving spirit.

Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”

Member Shelly Jaquet understands the importance of sharing the value of volunteerism with our youth. She has served as Youth Director of Youth Chapter 516, Prophetstown, Illinois since 1998. “I try to incorporate learning opportunities with every activity,” said Shelly.

“It is important for our youth to know the benefits of giving back, for themselves and for others.”

Shelly’s daughter, Kimberly Jaquet, has been serving as the Assistant Youth Director of the chapter since she was 16 years old. “It means so much to me to be able to share this experience with my daughter,” said Shelly. “I hope the time serving with Royal Neighbors is something she holds in her heart for many years.”

Youth Chapter 516 is involved in many activities in Prophetstown and the surrounding communities. “We are a small, tight-knit community,” said Shelly. “We try to help wherever there is a need.”

Chapter members participate in activities like dog sitting, donating food to neighbors impacted by a natural disaster, and taking food and supplies to elderly neighbors after surgery. Every activity is an opportunity for youth to connect with their community and experience first-hand the benefits of volunteerism.

“You can see it in their faces immediately. When they make someone smile, their faces light up the whole room. It’s their innocence combined with the realization that what they are doing matters,” shared Shelly.

Every spring, Youth Chapter 516 hosts an annual Royal Neighbors of America® Easter Egg Hunt in Tampico, Illinois. Children from the surrounding communities fill the park hunting for brightly colored eggs. Chapter members fill the eggs, hide them, and collect them after the event.

An ongoing commitment is the maintenance of the Lyndon walking bridge in Lyndon, Illinois. The chapter members maintain the landscaping and host a holiday lighting of the bridge every December. “My Dad always took our family over the bridge, so it brings back many childhood memories every time we visit,” shared Shelly. “It is a joy to share this tradition with our youth members.”

Youth Chapter 516 partners with a local church to assist with their weekly children’s ministry. “Our partnership with the church allows us to connect with more youth in the community,” said Shelly, “and gives us the opportunity to add to our membership.”

One of the member’s favorite chapter activities is the annual Prophetstown Lighted Christmas Parade. The members decorate a float and hand out candy and hot chocolate. “A parade is a great way to connect with our community and provide a random act of kindness to a large number of people,” said Shelly.

“Royal Neighbors pours kindness into communities,” added Shelly. “We are committed to extending that impact by inspiring our youth.”