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youth event in Victoria provides fun, builds community | Premium

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Listening to the sights and sounds of the upbeat music, the cheers of a hotly contested beach volleyball game, and the exclamations of children navigating an inflatable maze and slide, Natalie Williams felt a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s a good thing to be able to help put that on,” said Natalie, 13, of Victoria.

As part of a new program launched last year by Teens Grounded, Natalie and 11 other children helped shape the fourth annual Hope Fest, a free event for young people to come and enjoy a day in the sun on Saturday at Riverside. Park in Victoria.

Jodi Sandoval, the founder of Teens Grounded, a charity that helps organize Hope Fest, talks about the history of the event and the activities planned at Riverside Park on Saturday.





Teens Grounded, a nonprofit charitable organization in Victoria, seeks to build healthy relationships between local youth and the community to form good, prayerful adults, said Jodi Sandoval, founder of the organization.

Dividing the children between her and her husband, Sandoval said the groups meet twice a month to discuss different topics, including self-esteem, service, community service, advocacy and discipleship.

Young people need to value themselves,” she said, recounting the founding of the organization in 2017 after seeing an increase in the number of suicides among adolescents. “This is our goal. “

In addition to helping organize Hope Fest, the group looked for other ways to provide for the community, including a recent burger barbecue for homeless residents at Christ’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in Victoria.

Trish Hastings, executive director of the kitchen, said the kids had done a great job.

“They cooked everything and provided a great meal for everyone, and I barely had to do anything,” she said. “It was wonderful.”

Natalie, who volunteered in the kitchen that day, said she was grateful for the opportunity.

“My favorite thing about the program is all the different perspectives I get to see,” she said.

That’s what the program is designed for, said Debbie Ramirez, board member for Teens Grounded.

“Bringing these kids into the community to help and meet new people is why we are doing this,” she said. “These kids are just phenomenal.”

The organization is currently accepting applicants for the Youth Leadership Building Program, which begins September 5. The program, which is free, is aimed at students in grades 6 to 12. For more information, visit teensgrounded.com/youth-leadership-program.