Urban Alliance

A Senior Year Spent Making a Difference

Article and photos by Urban Alliance staff.

It's been several years since high school seniors Alyssa LaTorre and Casey Polanco were wide-eyed elementary students toting brightly colored pencil cases filled with newly sharpened crayons and scissors to fit their tiny hands, but now they are excited for these very things for a whole new reason.

They are helping provide much-needed school supplies to students in our local community. LaTorre and Polanco are UAServe champions who attend CT River Academy, an early college high school on Goodwin College's campus in East Hartford, CT. And, twice a week, they head to World Vision's East Hartford warehouse to volunteer together.

The warehouse, located in East Hartford, mobilizes donations through a Teacher Resource Center and an Essential Supplies Center, where teachers from local Title 1 schools and representatives from non-profit organizations can "shop" for free school supplies and other necessities through involvement with Urban Alliance's Next Generation and Beyond the Basics initiatives.

LaTorre and Polanco help sort, pack and stock the donations. Through this experience, they are gaining skills that will be useful as they head to college and embark on their future career paths. "I learned to communicate with a lot of people," explained Polanco. LaTorre added, "I have learned that it takes a lot of time and effort to reach a goal. World Vision has taught me that in order to reach my own goals, persistence is needed."

Both would encourage other high schoolers to give volunteering a try. "It's calming and it's a good environment. I'm happy being there," said Polanco. LaTorre agreed. "The environment is easy to be in and inviting," she said. 

Thank you, Alyssa and Casey, for contributing your time and talent to helping provide much-needed supplies for many in our local community!

Interested in volunteering?

Consider attending an orientation to learn about the many available volunteer opportunities. Contact Rosa McGuire, Urban Alliance's Volunteer Manager, at rosa.mcguire@urbanalliance.com.

You may also be interested in:
UAServe Appreciation Event Celebrates Volunteers of All Ages, Backgrounds and Abilities
UAServe Volunteers Stack Up 5, 127 Hours of Service, Dedication and Love in 2016
Time, Talent and Treasure of a Servant's Heart
Volunteers of All Ages Are Making An incredible Impact
Beyond Disability: UAServe Volunteers Making Impact Through Service
UAServe Volunteer Leads Effort To Provide Care Kits for Hartford's Homeless