Last year, 15-year-old Candis Morgan and her grandmother Linda Edwards dropped off a bag of old toys and children's clothes at The Nest, a non-profit for women and children that sits in the old Morton House in Duncan Park.
Candis thought that was the end of it, but she kept thinking about the center, which helps families with everything from low-cost day care to abuse counseling and better parenting skills. She got her grandmother to take her over again and, before the two of them knew it, they were volunteering there once a week during the summer and through the fall.
"I like helping other people," said Candis, a sophomore at Bryan Station High School. "It has helped me appreciate what I have."
She and Edwards spend about an hour a week doing whatever's needed, from sorting and folding donated clothes to bagging loaves of bread donated by Panera Bread that are put out for The Nest's clients.
For Edwards, the experience also has made her more appreciative of her life's blessings. In addition, she says, she's able to spend time with her granddaughter while doing something she'd always meant to do.
"I've always thought about volunteering somewhere but never taken the time to actually get out there," she said.
On a recent afternoon, they worked in the donation room, surrounded by stacks of baby blankets and bags of children's clothes. The work has confirmed Candis' resolve to be a teacher: "It makes me feel like I can help kids even more," she said.
Her volunteerism helps at school, too, because she is required to do some kind of community service.
"Candis has been great because she shows a lot of maturity and responsibility for someone her age," said Laura Harbour, The Nest's office manager and volunteer coordinator. Working alongside her grandmother is a "neat interaction."
Candis and Edwards hope they'll someday be promoted to volunteering with the many children around The Nest.
"We would really like that," said Edwards, 60. "My grandchildren keep me young."