September’s Volunteer of the Month: Mary Kapitonenko

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Mary at Teen Feed’s 2013 Fun Run & Walk

Mary throws her whole self into Teen Feed!

Whether it’s the friendships she builds over the Teen Feed meal, or enthusiastically  participating in events or trainings, or her whopping three-nights-a-week volunteering in the meals program, Mary gives every ounce of her being! Though she’s only 16 years old, Mary’s dedication is that of someone many years her senior, approaching the world with an open mind, an open heart. She is also thoughtful, funny, and a great artist.  Teen Feed is honored Mary is part of our community and thrilled to name her September’s Volunteer of the Month!

How long have you been volunteering with Teen Feed?
As of October 2nd, it will be a year!

Why/ how did you get involved with Teen Feed?
My friend Tomas introduced me to Teen Feed last year by bringing me to Teen Feed Auburn program. Then I started volunteering on Saturdays in the University District… and now I also go to South Seattle program, so am in program on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at Teen Feed?
The things I like best about volunteering is being able to change people’s minds about homeless people and homeless youth. Some people have a preconceived notion that they are all bad and all do drugs, but that isn’t true. I like building connections with the guests and talking with them. They all have interesting stories to share. I like the staff too!

What do you like to do outside of Teen Feed?
Volunteer at LifeWire (formerly Eastside Domestic Violence Program), hang out with my friends, draw, and be lazy.

What did you eat today?
Coffee, chocolate protein shake, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and a glass of almond milk.

What have you learned from volunteering at Teen Feed?
I’ve learned that all the stereotypes I grew up with are  completely untrue. I’ve also learned about the social injustices that homeless people need to deal with on a daily basis, like homophobia and racism. There are a lot of people in need, and it is good to help out because you can really make a difference.

Thank you so much for ALL you do, Mary! To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work , click here.