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Giving On and Off the Court

July 25, 2019  |  Comments Off on Giving On and Off the Court

Rachel Rodriguez has been a loyal volunteer at Alexander Youth Network for more than 20 years. Rachel Rodriguez with family

Rachel found Alexander during a difficult time in her life and she decided to turn her frustrations into helping others. Initially, she served as a mentor but eventually became a Lunch Buddy. In her time with Alexander, she has been paired as a Lunch Buddy for seven different children at Alexander.

Several years ago, Rachel decided she wanted to do more. She combined her love of volleyball with her passion for the kids at Alexander.

She started hosting volleyball clinics to teach the sport and build teamwork skills with the kids. On her own accord, she hosted a coffee and donut fundraiser at her employer, HDR Architecture, to share her passion and raise the funds needed to buy a volleyball net and balls. At the end of her fundraising efforts, HDR graciously matched the proceeds to double the impact of the fundraiser.

Since that time, Rachel has been a monthly presence here on campus, hosting volleyball clinics with the children in our Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility.

The kids greet her with wide eyes and excitement as she not only plays with them – she listens to their stories. Over the years, Rachel has grown increasingly attached to many of the children she has worked with.  “It warms my heart that so many of the kids know me and appreciate my effort. The consistency of my presence definitely makes a difference, and the more they know me, the more they share information about their lives,” says Rachel. Now Rachel’s three teenage daughters join her each month to work with the kids. Her oldest daughter who is on the Davidson volleyball team is even interested in pursuing a summer internship at Alexander next year.

The children of Alexander are lucky to have a positive influence and caring individual like Rachel to brighten their days.

Alexander is proud to know that her volunteer experience has also been a positive influence in her life. Both Rachel and her husband are going to join the official Alexander team as staff members, working part-time on the transportation team for Charlotte Day Treatment.

Alexander Youth Network’s dedicated volunteers help make Alexander a special place for the kids. They provide our kids with attention, enrichment, and positive mentoring that is vital to their recovery. Alexander is grateful to have Rachel and her family as a part of the Alexander community. When asked if her story could be shared, she immediately turned the focus back to the kids, stating,

“AYN has a special place in my heart. I truly love and care about these kids – some have been dealt a bad hand at an early age, but their hearts are so big!”

Thank you Rachel for sharing your big heart with Alexander!


Written by Lynn Crutchfield

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