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YOUniquelyU Offers Memorable Experience for Youth

As a mom of an 11-year-old ​and a 13-year-old, April Tonkin, owner of YOUniquelyU, ​searched for volunteer opportunities for both herself and her kids. She wanted her children to learn the important lesson of community service and helping others.

“This started my journey of researching non-profits that allowed ‘youth’ volunteers along with adults,” said Tonkin. “Through my research, my family attended the Boys Town Nevada Christmas Festival of Hope in December 2013.”

During the Christmas Festival, April and her family toured the Family Homes and met some of the Boys Town youth living on campus. Attending the festival, April says, was a moment that changed both her and her family’s life.

“This Holiday Open House was quite an eye opener for my family,” she said. “We had no idea of this type of campus for children and were so surprised to see the family set-up and dynamics of the houses. During our car ride home, my son said, ‘Mom, this is the organization we should work with.’”

Ever since that moment, April and her family have inspired Boys Town youth just as much as the youth inspired them. The support April, her family and her online boutique, YOUniquelyU, have shown Boys Town Nevada over the last year has been monumental. The youth enjoy the activities YOUniquelyU hosts and look forward to each one. For each event, April brings not only herself and her family, but also 10 to 20 volunteers who are eager to support Boys Town Nevada youth.

“What makes April and the YOUniquelyU volunteers so special is their dedication to the youth,” said Lillian Dypold, Boys Town Nevada Development Coordinator. “It’s amazing to see the meaningful relationships being created between the youth and the volunteers.”

Events sponsored by YOUniquelyU include:

  • October: Led volunteers, youth, and program staff in decorating the homes for Halloween
  • December: Led the youth and staff in making handmade ornaments to gift to their families and stockings to hang in the family homes
  • January: Helped each youth create a unique vision board to help visualize their goals for the year
  • March: Helped each youth create a “grateful box.”  This was an idea from a youth in the program.  The grateful boxes are personalized treasure boxes where they can put pictures, keepsakes, notes about their hopes and dreams or things they’re grateful for, etc. 

“The best part of working with Boys Town Nevada has got to be the kids. It warms my heart to have kids from the event come up and thank us for showing up for them,” said April. “I also like my kids being able to recognize not all kids have the same situation at home as they have had and realize just how blessed their lives have been.”

April looks forward to hosting another event this summer. “It’s our goal to do activities that they will enjoy while reinforcing the family unit and personal growth,” she added. “Boys Town Nevada is a truly unique organization and applauds all those who dedicated their lives to serving all of these kids.”