Meet our PALs-Horizons For Homeless Children

Meet our PALs: Jess and Adam Trahan

As National Volunteer Week (April 15-22) continues, we continue to spotlight more stories from our incredible PALs! Make sure you share your volunteer story on social media, with the hashtag #WhyIVolunteer2018!

Meet our PALs: Jess and Adam Trahan

In your opinion, what makes Horizons for Homeless Children different from other organizations?
The staff are very passionate about the program; the enthusiasm is contagious. They go above and beyond to make sure the volunteers and shelters have what they need, and always reach out with new ideas.

Are there any standout stories, relationships or successful outcomes that have really stayed with you?
The kids get so excited when we arrive. There was one little boy who had autism (high functioning), and we really bonded with him. He had a lot of outbursts but we connected with him and worked through it. When the family left, it was hard for them. They moved down the street. We ran into his mom a little while later to ask how he was doing and catch up – she’s a manager now, and the family is back on their feet.

“When families leave shelter, it’s good because they found housing or something positive, but it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the kids.”

What keeps you coming back year after year?
The kids keep us coming back, but also the Horizons staff, who are great about checking in. They’ve organized group planning sessions and hosted brainstorming sessions with PALs across multiple shifts.

What would you say to people looking to volunteer?
[Adam]: It’s so important that more men sign up to be a PAL in the Playspace Program. A lot of these kids don’t have male figures in their lives. I can be a semi-permanent one.
[Jess]: I agree. The program really needs young men. Even before Adam started, I noticed the kids interacted differently with him. We have a lot of kids who are shy for any number of reasons but you see it more with the male PALs. Once they come out of their shell, there will be several kids hanging off of him!

To learn more about becoming a PAL like Jess and Adam, click here. Trainings are held regularly across the state!