Cedar Valley Penny Harvest Student Leaders felt it was important to give out their $1,000 grant to organizations that took the time to speak with them on the phone.
This morning, we called organizations dealing with the top issues that the student leaders identified. Every student was clear, loud, and courageous. On speakerphone, they explained that they were representing Cedar Valley, the grant that they were responsible for, and then asked interview questions that we had prepared the week before.
Penny Harvest Student Leaders put a lot of thought into the kind of places they wanted to donate to, and treated the organizations with a lot of respect.
They learned quickly that respect does not always go both ways.
First, a shout out to Northwest Harvest! The woman answering the phone was enthusiastic, friendly, and treated all of their questions with enormous respect. We learned that they provide nutritious food for anyone who is hungry, without requiring any form of proof. We also learned all about who Northwest Harvest is and what the organization does. I could see the group nodding when she said it felt good to look outside and see the difference that she makes every day.
The second organization we called was a complete change in attitude. She gave condescending and overly simplistic answers to their questions. Every answer was curt, and she was obviously trying to get off the phone. At the end, she demanded to be asked the questions by an adult, even though she knew I was in the room the whole time.
When we hung up, the atmosphere was much heavier than after the first call. I asked the group what they thought about the difference in the two calls. Immediately, Vicente and Chris commented on how much nicer the first person was to them, and how much more she shared. This sparked a discussion about the amount of respect youth receive from adults. In the middle of a potentially discouraging experience, the student leaders realized that they still had power in this situation. They get to choose which organizations to support. It’s nice knowing that this time, youth can demand respect.