Fort Collins volunteer helps teens

Posted at 8:04 AM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 10:04:14-04
All of us can help young people in need by donating money to a good cause, but often what they need most is a relationship with someone who cares. 7Everyday Hero Sylvia Ashley does that and it is impacting a whole community. 
Ashley volunteers at The Matthews House in Fort Collins.
"Sylvia is the epitome of a good volunteer," said Jerri Schmitz, founder and executive director, The Matthews House. "The Matthews House is a program that has been around for ten years working with at risk youth and families."
Ashley does a myriad of things for the Matthews House from making lunch for staff, to hosting teenaged clients in her home and taking them on rock climbing events.
"It's not about the climbing so much as it is about learning trust, trusting your belier, just behaving yourself in public," said Ashley. 
"The key thing that most folks who've lived in generational poverty really need is to know they are valued and they can be a part of a community," said Schmitz. 
You can feel the homeyness of The Matthews House day center when you visit. It is a big Victorian home overlooking a park. And when you talk to the volunteers and staff you can see the impact this non-profit has on all for Fort Collins. 
"We see them become the mom, the dad, that they really want to be.  We see families who live with always thinking they won't know where their next meal is coming from - to becoming vibrant contributors to our community," said Schmitz. 
"It has been really good for me.  I mean there are days I don't want to come in and then I do and I'm like 'Yeah, that's why I do this,'" said Ashley.
That success is thanks to a dedicated staff and volunteers like Sylvia Ashley.
Learn more about The Matthews House.

Mitch Jelniker anchors 7NEWS Now in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.