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Learning Through Service at Hays House

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In addition to receiving counseling, care, and shelter at Hays House, residents spend time every week getting involved in their community through volunteer projects. Hays’ service learning program has included many community organizations and nonprofits. To date, Hays kids have served more than 100 meals at the Boise Rescue Mission, packed 1500 lbs. of donations at the Idaho Foodbank, delivered 32 meals for Meals on Wheels, and cared for service animals with Mini-Joys, a local non-profit that provides miniature horses for therapeutic healing.

Service learning projects are planned by the residents themselves during weekly Youth Council meetings. The projects happen every Saturday morning and Thursday afternoon, with extra days added in as necessary.  Hays residents are currently working on several larger projects including one with local refugee and at-risk youth in partnership with One Stone, a local student leadership organization. They are also exploring a new partnership with the Boise Farmer’s Market and IYR Alumni Association.

Many of the kids at Hays have also taken on individual opportunities. One resident acts as a mentor for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and another is a ZooTeen volunteer at Zoo Boise who provides customer service and informational sessions, and even special presentations.

Service learning, at Hays and all of IYR’s residential youth program, allows kids to experience the satisfaction of making a difference—for some, for the first time in their lives. It builds confidence and a sense of belonging. And it's fun! Service learning is so popular that some of our alumni love coming back to participate even after they graduate from the program.

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