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16207 177th Ave SE Monroe, WA 98272

Why Community Matters

In the state of Washington, many school districts require a certain number of community service hours in order to graduate. Years ago, because of this, we saw an influx of teenagers coming into Matthew House in search of volunteer opportunities. Boys and girls alike would come into Matthew House with pen and papers in hand hoping to leave at the end of the day with their first of many hours of volunteering signed off on. In most cases they did. And for months to come they would spend a few hours a week working alongside us.

But, what is community service?

Community service is unpaid work performed by a person or Group of people for the benefit and betterment of their community.

There are many benefits of volunteer work, especially for teenagers. Volunteering helps develop and improve social skills through collaborative work, as well as helps one gain real-world work experience. It often also helps people gain an understanding of what it means to be a part of a community, and why giving back is important. Volunteer work can look like many different things. Volunteering for fundraisers and food drives. Providing transportation for programs and services. Reading to children at the library or tutoring for free, and so much more.

At Matthew House, we made sure to have volunteer work for students at the ready. They kept our walkways clear of debris and wiped down outdoor furniture. Properly sorted through clothing donations, keeping in mind prison attire guidelines. Made sure that the toy room stayed organized and well-maintained for children. Vacuumed hallways and rooms. No matter what, there was something for them to do. 

It’s not just teenagers finding way to contribute to Matthew House, but tweens as well. Every month since Thanksgiving of last year, Girl Scouts Andee-Mae and Annalise of troop 44483 have provided Matthew House with bags of food. This food goes to the hundreds of prison families that we serve. To see how committed these young girls are to helping those in need is eye-opening. Both girls have since also volunteered to help with any projects that we have. Their troop is currently in the process of sending us fleece blankets to share with our families.

Volunteering is powerful. It reminds us to stick together and take care of one another. It shows us that with each other, the possibilities of what we can achieve are limitless. How will you support your community?


Two Girl Scout members stand outside Matthew House with boxes of food in their car.
Girl Scout troop 44483 members Andee-Mae and Annalise with boxes of food for Matthew House.


Woman stands between two Girl Scout members inside Matthew House with boxes of food.
Matthew House Executive Director, Linda Paz (middle), with Girl Scout troop 44483 members Andee-Mae and Annalise.