On July 19, 2010, tragedy struck the Hicks family. While hiking on vacation in California, 17-year old Andrew lost his footing and slipped down a mountain. Just a few weeks after his passing, Andrew’s family established the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation to honor their son.
According to its website, “The Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation aims to honor Andrew’s life and demonstrate the love of Christ to the youth of Chester, PA by identifying and fulfilling service opportunities with the involvement of Henderson High School students and the West Chester, PA community.”
The foundation has three types of programming, including “open” events for any Chester child, Warrior Guides, and its RISE program.
The open events are open to Henderson High School students to volunteer at and also for any child of Chester to participate in. These events are run by seniors at Henderson.
“We partner with them to provide advice, supervision, and resources, but the seniors who run the event have a lot of responsibility too,” said Karen Hicks, executive director of the foundation.
Around 100 volunteers from Henderson help at these events, and these events occur every other month. There are many WCU volunteers at them as well.
The Warrior Guides program has around 100 Henderson students who spend one Saturday every month with a specific Chester child.
The Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation organizes events for the Warrior Guides. WCU students often volunteer as chaperones at these events.
For one week in the summer, on the North East River in Maryland, the foundation also runs a camp.
Around 36 Henderson High School students volunteer as counselors, and WCU students often volunteer as well.
Camp Paradise is from Sunday, August 7 to Thursday, August 11 this year.
Interested volunteers can also become Small Group Leaders for the teen leadership development program, RISE.
Thirty-five Chester teens meet every other Thursday with a RISE Coordinator. Students must commit to at least one semester in the volunteer position.
“We need college students who are excited and passionate about seeing the inner city youth grow and develop, and take on leadership within their own community,” said Hicks.
In one year, the foundation typically gets between 750 and 1,000 volunteers. The football team, tennis team, and lacrosse team at WCU have all volunteered. Physical education majors often organize events.
To look for volunteer opportunities, check out http://AndrewLHicksJrFoundation.org. Interested volunteers can send an email to GetInvolved@AndrewLHicksJrFoundation.org.
Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. They can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu