The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Young Life Capernaum creates an empowering environment for special children

Young Life Capernaum mentors and counselors have helped various groups of struggling special need youth by bringing a smile to their faces.
Young Life Capernaum mentors and counselors have helped various groups of struggling special need youth by bringing a smile to their faces.

Over the years, various programs have been developed for special needs teens and young adults in the Bay Area, especially in the SRVUSD district where disabilities are a common issue. Many of them offer support and extend generosity in an effort to tackle issues these students are struggling with. However, The Young Life Capernaum is a special needs assistance institution that is like no other. The manner in which they positively encourage volunteers and mentors to come together, effortlessly eliminates the distress that special needs kids face on a daily basis. 

This organization does so by providing an opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to interact with generous students that are passionate about volunteering. While breaking down the barriers between these students, the members of this non profit organization also teach people important social skills and empower kindness in our community. Recruiting teens from a variety of high schools thoroughly accomplishes their mission for inclusion. Dougherty Valley being one of the most common. By playing games, singing songs, and creating a supportive environment, these students are able to develop a sense of self-esteem. While they witness massive improvements in their health 

“It is amazing to witness the joy that our buddies receive when they put our friends first and tend to their needs by inviting them to join in on our activities and many times, just by participating with them.” says Vince Felix, director of Young Life Capernaum in the East Bay. 

In many school environments, special needs individuals can feel ostracized or segregated from their peers due to their differences. According to Capernaum, “one-quarter of youth with intellectual disability have not been invited to social activities with other youth even once during the past year.” This program works to defeat the wall that it holds up within students. While also preaching religious beliefs for people of all faiths. It is inclusive and creates a safe space of belonging for many.

In many school environments, special needs individuals can feel ostracized or segregated from their peers due to their differences.

“We see our friends grow their social circle and grow in their confidence as they develop friendships and confidence that they are valuable members of society.” according to Felix. Their focus is to make these participants understand that they are beautifully made and loved by God. It offers them an opportunity to participate in our community without feeling disqualified or dismayed. In this environment, they are invited to enjoy and take pride in themselves. 

While this greatly benefits the special needs teens, it can also positively impact the high school volunteers to the same extent. These volunteers, also known as “buddies,” tend to take a step outside of their comfort zone and attempt to branch out when they sign up for this program. They are given the chance to receive a new perspective on these students and understand the value of their inclusion. While participating in amusing activities with them, buddies can learn and understand a lot from them. Their ability to socialize with diverse groups of people would therefore be more refined.

“Over the years I had several buddies influenced by their experiences with us and pursue college courses in order to have a career serving the disabled community” states Felix. This institution offers life changing opportunities and a chance to develop fulfilling friendships. For many people, it redefines their future and teaches them the importance of giving back to our community. Along with making positive changes for our community.

Dougherty Valley High School is a large contribution to the improvements this institution is manufacturing in our society. Many volunteers are a part of the student population at Dougherty Valley. Their willingness to participate in this program helps bring more focus and light to this subject. This is very valuable for the special needs children who deserve to live their life with the same equality and respect that is awarded to others. “Young people are our world’s greatest resource. By volunteering DVHS influences our community in a powerful way.” Felix mentions.

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Tvisha Grover, Staff Writer
Tvisha joined the Wildcat Tribune because she is very passionate about writing. She loves this class because she gets to express her thoughts on paper and learn about current events. Tvisha's journalism goal for this year is to step out of her comfort zone and try out new styles of writing. She really wants to improve important skills such as interviewing and become a better writer overall. One interesting fact about her is that Tvisha is an only child. If she could be any other person on the Tribune, she would be Mayukhi because she is a really talented editor and is also very confident.

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