Volunteer groups also play an integral part in YOTO’s operations. Typically, these are members of a school, club, religious organization, or company who would like to give a few hours of their time to help YOTO youth. These groups assemble packages, write inspirational notes to students, hold food or school supply drives, and more!
This year, the award for Volunteer Group of the Year was given to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) for their enthusiastic support of YOTO. In the past year, DMAFB has helped YOTO package blankets for the “Spread the Warmth” donation drive, set up for events, write inspirational notes to YOTO students to accompany their stipend checks, and bag Tide pods. In fact, DMAFB was announced as YOTO’s 2nd Annual Socktober Challenge winner last November! In addition to collecting more socks than all the other participating groups, DMAFB coordinated a memorable and awe-inspiring parachute jump with a 500-pound barrel filled with 1,367 pairs of socks!
Senior Master Sergeant Robert Redziniak shared his thoughts on why YOTO means so much, both to DMAFB, and to him:
“For me, DMAFB wouldn’t be the same without the YOTO family because it ties into my story with being a homeless youth trying to graduate high school. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my community’s generous support when I needed it the most.
The Airmen on Davis-Monthan AFB are amazing, have the biggest hearts, and are always excited to help out YOTO when an opportunity presents itself. Our Airmen come from all walks of life and each one of them have incredible stories on how they overcame hardships to get to where they are. My favorite part of volunteering with these Airmen is hearing why they want to help out YOTO. Their stories aren’t much different than those who are currently being assisted by YOTO and they feel connected to its mission at their very core. The military and Tucson community has given us so much to be thankful for and we are grateful for the opportunity to give back and help the next generation be successful in life.
Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your incredible family. And thank you for helping out so many teens who deserve the opportunity to not have to worry about socks or other necessities so they can focus on graduating high school and being successful in life, whether it’s the Air Force or college.”
To everyone at DMAFB, we thank you for your service, your courage, and for being such an integral part of the YOTO Family!