Bob Christophulos believes everyone has potential to do good - you just have to reach them. Mar-gene Pons said serving others is the key to happiness.
Christophulos and Pons volunteer their time at the Salt Lake Detention Center. And to honor them, and about 200 other volunteers, the center put on its 28th Annual Volunteer Thank-You Banquet Monday night.For the past 12 years, Chris-to-phulos and the Protestant Group have been singing, playing music and sharing insights to the juveniles brought here.
"Once you get going, you get hooked," Christophulos said. "What keeps me going is that one of these kids I talk with or perform for might have the answers to life's problems."
Christophulos, who lost his wife to cancer a few years ago, said that one juvenile he might reach could be the one who discovers a disease's cure.
"It's important these kids realize their potential," he said. "I talk with these kids and try to help them find their freedom - wheth-er it be from drugs or other bad habits they have fallen into. Let me tell you, these days it's not easy being young.
"When I first started volunteering, the kids that came through were basically minor offenders. They were truant or out past curfew and such. But now, the kids are tough kids. They seemed to have lost hope in the family and are actually raised on the streets. They find the only stability in life is gangs. And gangs are a dead end way of life."
Christophulos, who also plays the keyboards during some of his sessions, said it takes only courage to become a detention center volunteer.
"You have to have courage to break down the walls these children have built," he said. "You need courage to lead these kids to better education and give them hope. I know what it's like to be where these kids are. I wasn't always a happy man, and though I'm not proud of what I did in my past, the Lord reached to me and changed me. If he can change me, he can change anyone."
Pons' volunteer work is more tangible. For the past six years she has designed the program and invitations for the banquet, and it's her calligraphy that recipients see on their certificates of appreciation.
"I'm amazed at the number of people who volunteer their time and work with these kids," Pons said. "A lot of hours goes into the work, and I truly believe when you serve others, you're the most happy."