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Fred Meyer grant helps museum expand teen volunteer program


You see them all around the Museum in the summer, wearing periwinkle polo shirts and big smiles. “They” are teen volunteers, an active and integral component of the High Desert Museum.

Through generous support of a $15,000 Fred Meyer Fund grant, the High Desert Museum will be able to expand the teen volunteer program to Saturdays throughout the school year, as well as incorporate technology into their volunteer experience.

“Our teen volunteers are so dedicated, it is a pleasure to work with them,” said High Desert Museum Associate Curator of Education Erica Pelley. “I love their energy and enthusiasm and willingness to step out of their comfort zones and share their knowledge with visitors and each other.”

Support from the grant will provide for staff time to manage and train the volunteers, but also to purchase shirts and badges, supplies for activity tables, and computer and digital photography equipment. Knowing that not all teens have access to such electronic devices at home or in school, it is important that the Museum provide opportunities for teens to grow in this area, knowing how intrinsic technology has become in their daily lives.

Teen volunteers, ages 11-18, commit to a minimum of eight hours of service per month for an entire year. Once accepted into the program, teens participate in volunteer training sessions, learning how to engage with visitors and share the message of the Museum. They serve their first year on the Education Team, gaining valuable training in communication, interpretation and customer service. More experienced teens can move into other departments such as the caf, admissions desk and store, or through the Living History and Wildlife departments. In 2014, 50 teens contributed 5,500 hours of volunteer service.

“Our customers and employees are extremely passionate about local youth development and volunteerism. We are excited to be able to support an organization like the High Desert Museum as they work with the youth in the community to expand their programming,” said Zach Stratton, philanthropy coordinator for Fred Meyer stores. “Our employees throughout the company have been extremely generous, and their annual donations allow us to make grants like this that impact the communities where they live and work.”

Teens who participate in Museum activities improve communication skills through teaching and public speaking, and foster critical thinking skills through opportunities to lead and problem-solve. Youth who volunteer at the Museum are engaged in their communities and, in many cases, develop passions that they later pursue in college and their professional lives.

To learn more about the Museum’s teen volunteer program, visit or contact Erica Pelley at 541-382-4754 ext. 320.

About the Fred Meyer Fund

The Fred Meyer Fund awards grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to youth development, hunger reduction, military family support, cancer research and awareness and environmental education. It is funded solely through employee donations, mostly via payroll deduction, from the 133 Fred Meyer stores throughout Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Since its inception in 1998, the Fred Meyer Fund has awarded over $17 million in grants to nonprofits in the four states in which the company has stores.

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