By Christine Valdez
Web Production Assistant
As a way to make a difference and to give back to the community, Darrow began a non-profit organization called Angels of God in Pitman back in 2009. The organization provides clothing and other necessities to those in need. It was through her organization that Darrow decided to create a group that would gather and provide volunteer service regardless of age, and that was how Kids on a Quest was created.
“I was always really passionate about volunteering, which obviously led me to starting a non-profit, starting a charity, so I was always really passionate about giving back and helping others,” said Darrow. “Because of that love of service, I’ve been encouraging others to join me in volunteerism.”
While other volunteer opportunities put age limits on service opportunities, according to Darrow, Kids on a Quest includes children of all ages — from 3 to 18 — with the majority of the members ranging from 7 to 11 years old.
Darrow says that she wants kids to know that volunteering can be fun.
Meetings are held once a month, on the first Wednesday of the month at the Pitman Manor, and that is where all the ideas and projects start to take shape.
“Every month the group of kids, we all meet together and we discuss a little bit of what we’re going to do for the next one and we’ll choose a cause. Then they to do a service project surrounding it,” Darrow said.
Over the year and a half that the group has been in existence, children have volunteered for various service projects. Throughout the year, the organization tries to complete six to eight different projects. According to Darrow, the children have made and sent cards to veterans around the country, participated in Alex’s Lemonade Stand for cancer research, hosted a collection for a local animal shelter and assisted at the local nursing home where they host their meetings.
A recent project included making and delivering Easter baskets for local children who live in homeless shelters and low income housing.
While children of various ages participate and volunteer for different projects each month, Darrow says that many have returned to continue with projects.
“After the meeting, some of the kids would come up to me and say, ‘Wow, this is so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again,'” said Darrow. “I think that sometimes, kids aren’t always exposed to volunteering and the really great benefits of volunteerism.”
Since the start of the organization, Darrow has wanted to encourage children to get involved within their communities and make a difference. According to Darrow, she has enjoyed watching the children who have volunteered with the organization and the all the different ideas that they have brought to the meetings.
“They have such a passion in their eyes and I love seeing that because to them the world is just so infinite and they have all these different ideas and possibilities,” Darrow said. “I love working with the kids because they truly want to change the world and they believe in themselves, so I really love that.”
As Kids on a Quest enters its second year, Darrow hopes to continue providing the opportunity for volunteers without an age limit.
“I remember growing up there wasn’t really many opportunities for me to volunteer,” Darrow said. “I remember just one thing when I was younger. I wanted to volunteer to different places and try to give back and make a difference but it was so tough because I was young and age restrictions, and that’s why I really wanted to make this all ages. I thought it was a little different.”