Volunteers in Action

Giving Back, Paying it Forward

Children’s Institute is extremely grateful for hundreds of exceptional volunteers who donate their time and creativity for the benefit of our children and families. Our volunteers do everything from assisting in youth development programs, such as art and sports, to reading to children and beautifying our facilities. Among them is a dedicated group of young adults who have found a way to give back and inspire other youth at the same time.

Kids for CII: A Legacy of Service

In Tyler Konkal’s family, service and philanthropy are time-honored traditions. As an eighth grader, Tyler started the youth volunteer group Kids for CII with help from his mother, Pamela Konkal, a CII supporter and member of CII’s support group The Colleagues. His grandmother, Ann Petroni, is also a Colleague and former CII Board member.

“My mother and grandmother have done a lot of charitable work, often anonymously,” says Tyler, now 18. “To them, giving back is a given.” Tyler rallied his school friends who volunteered by organizing fun learning activities for CII’s 4-to-8-year-old clients. Seven years later, the group is still going strong, now led by The Colleagues’ Maty Monfort Novia and her children, 17-year-old Christopher and 13-year-old Caroline.

“If people reach out of their comfort zone, they’ll see it’s possible to connect with those who are different from themselves,” says Caroline. “At CII, each of us finds our match.”

One of my favorite quotes is: ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’Tyler Konkal

Tutoring Partners: Building Skills, Connecting Youth

The spark of volunteerism hit 17-year-old Charlie Thompson when he was on his way to hand out Easter Baskets at CII with his mom, Gia Thompson, a member of CII Support Group, The CHIPS.

“I suddenly thought, why don’t I try to do something on my own, like tutoring,” he says.

Charlie started “Tutoring Partners” with several classmates, working with CII clients ages 5-to-7-year-old. Two years later, the volunteer tutors now number 15 and meet weekly with an expanded age group of kids.

“When we first started, the kids were kind of hesitant around us,” says Charlie. “Not anymore. When I see a tutor working with someone who’s struggling with a problem or idea, and then she suddenly gets it…that’s great!”

Charlie’s next goal is to expand the program to CII’s Watts Center in South Los Angeles where there are fewer resources and a greater need for tutors.

“My parents have always encouraged me to give back,” says Charlie. “They instilled in me the importance of persistence and staying on track with an idea—which is something we pass on to our CII kids.”

All of these inspiring young adults grew up witnessing the power of volunteerism and have brought that giving spirit with them, inspiring and empowering others to do the same.

I realized the bubble I lived in, and volunteering at CII took me out of it.Charlie Thompson

Thank you to the many individuals, groups and corporations that came together to support CII this past year. Your generosity helps us make a difference in the lives of children every day.