See how Idaho teens are getting involved with JustServe over the summer

Serving is one way youth can stand out from the world, says Latter-day Saint teen from Idaho Falls

This summer, teens from Idaho Falls, Idaho, have found ways to give back to their community through volunteering with JustServe. is a website and app where organizations list their volunteer needs and where people can find service opportunities around them.

JustServe is a great opportunity to experience helping someone, a local youth from Idaho Falls said. “JustServe is one of those programs that are trying to bring you closer to Christ.”

Idaho Falls teens represent the JustServe float during the 4th of July parade, July 4, 2023. | Provided by Susan Stucki

Sorting food at the Community Food Basket

Local Idaho Falls teens volunteered their time to help sort out donations for the Community Food Basket on June 26.

Melanie Thomson, a local youth volunteer at the service project that day, talked about the value of serving as a teenager. “I think it’s great to learn how to serve when you’re a teen and to know the value of it too,” she said.

Teens stock food in boxes at the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket.
Idaho teens helping at the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket, June 26, 2023. | Provided by Susan Stucki

Thomson talked about how much she learned about her community by serving Community Food Basket. She thought it was fun to get involved with organizing the food and see everything Community Food Basket was doing to help their Idaho Falls community.

“There’s also more than just food, which is crazy,” she said. “One example is diapers. There are so many diapers, which is a huge need for parents these days who are raising babies.”

Even though a lot of their service might be indirect, Thomson talked about how fulfilling it was to be able to serve alongside her peers to help those in need. “Being able to serve others when you’re young can help a person so much,” she said and then added, “Every service counts.”

According to Thomson, service changes a person for the better.

Sprucing up Heritage Park

In June, teens from Idaho Falls volunteered to help lay sod for new Heritage Park located two miles from downtown Idaho Falls, Idaho. Over 60 people came to help, the majority of them local teens.

“We had no idea the numbers that would show up that night,” said Susan Stucki, JustServe Idaho Falls representative. Heritage Park is only in Phase 1 of its development, and the extra help has been important in getting the project going. “Imagine our excitement when teens, along with their adult leaders, poured into the park.”

Idaho Falls teens help lay sod for Heritage Park.
Idaho Falls teens help lay sod for Heritage Park, June 13, 2023. | Provided by Susan Stucki

Teenagers shared how much they loved helping out.

“I felt great knowing that after my service project I had helped someone that lives just down the street from me,” said one volunteer. The teens loved seeing how the improvements to the park they made not only created a more beautiful area in their community, but also provided a place for families to gather.

“In working with Just Serve, I realize that there are more needs in my community than I had previously thought,” said another volunteer.

Teens were grateful for the JustServe app in giving them ideas and opportunities to get involved in their community in meaningful ways.

Representing JustServe in the 4th of July parade

For three years, local teens volunteering with JustServe have participated in the Idaho Falls 4th of July Parade. This year the JustServe float had nearly 50 teens involved, and instead of riding the float, many of them chose to walk so they could have the opportunity to promote JustServe to the crowd.

Porter Chugg was one of the youth that had gotten involved with representing JustServe during the parade. One of the highlights of the parade was tossing wristbands with the JustServe logo to bystanders and chanting “Just-Serve!” with the crowd.

“People were always asking for a wristband from JustServe,” Chugg said. “We threw them out like they were candy.” Part of what he loved about being involved was the experience of making others happy.

Serving doesn’t have to be a huge project — a little bit can go a long way, he said. Serving can be something as simple as saying “hello” to another person. “The world can be dark,” said Chugg. “One person can be in black and white, but saying hello can bring color to them and their whole world.”

And his favorite part about getting involved?

“The feeling from Christ” he gets while serving. Chugg added how heartwarming it is knowing that he is helping others.

JustServe is a great way for teens to get involved with their community in powerful and meaningful ways. “Don’t be afraid to do it,” said Chugg. “Don’t be afraid to get out there and put yourself out there; because the one thing the world needs right now is ... service from the youth. We need more people who are willing to put themselves out there.”

“The prophet asked us to stand apart from the world,” he continued. “I think that instead of the youth trying to fit in with the world and the social norms, we need to stick out more.” He then added that “serving is a wonderful way to do that.”

These teens inspired Brent and Melanie Belnap, who were previous missionaries for JustServe. Melanie described how her and her husband had “gotten out of the habit” of checking the JustServe app for service opportunities.

When they went to the Idaho Falls 4th of July parade together she said they were “re-inspired.”

After getting home from the parade they found a service opportunity through JustServe that allowed them to assemble school kits for refugees — they ended up assembling 80 kits and donated them to Lifting Hands International in Utah.

Melanie Belnap with a car load of the 80 school kits they assembled for Lifting Hands International, Aug. 2023. | Provided by Susan Stucki
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