Alumni Council Members' Service Projects
Sixty-nine outstanding students completed the 2019-2020 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council program. Members represented 45 school districts, four private schools, and one homeschool. You may read about each of the member's individual projects, below and/or in the printable Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council Newsletter! To check out previous years' service project videos, click here.
Lily M., 1st year member
Project: Pampered with Love - Lily, her sister and her three friends worked together to collect donations of diapers and wipes for the Bella House in Plano and Dallas, Texas. Together they collected 5464 diapers and 207 packets of wipes. These donations helped the young mothers in Bella House to provide much needed essential items for their newborn children. Lily said, "My service project taught me how to lead and coordinate a team of people to achieve a common goal. It made me feel very honored to be able to contribute to such a great organization in my community." Sponsor: Ivo Marocco, Parent/Business Development Manager.
Christy Z., 1st year member
Project: Giving Thanks In Quarantine - Christy and a few of her social media friends made over 150 cards to deliver to 4 of the local hospitals: Ballinger Memorial Hospital District, North Runnels Hospital, Bronte Health and Rehab Center, and the Concho County Hospital. They made these cards to bring light to the COVID-19 situation and bring hope to the frontline heroes that are risking their lives each and every day. Not only did these cards benefit the workers, but Christy and her friends also put their art and writing skills to the test. Christy said, "I was challenged in ways that made me very frustrated which caused me to lay off the project. However, now that I have finally finished, I can definitely say that I have learned my lesson and will not procrastinate for my future projects." Sponsor: Jennifer Cullen, Teacher.
Miles M., 1st year member
Project: Notes of Hope and Strength for Anxiety and OCD - Miles originally organized his fellow Lakewood Elementary students to raise awareness and design cards for people with mental health issues, including OCD and anxiety. Then COVID-19 struck, so Miles enlisted the help of nearly twenty local families (and relatives from across the country) to create 255 handmade notes and collect 147 stamps. He sent both to Not Alone Notes, which used them to provide personalized notes of strength, encouragement and resources to people who needed them. Miles said, "I wanted to help people with mental health issues after watching my sister struggle with OCD. I became a better leader because I had to adapt and get help from neighbors, friends and family to complete my project after COVID-19 almost derailed it." Sponsor: Becky Musil, Principal, Lakewood Elementary
Timothy J., 2nd year member
Project: Santa Pal Program - Timothy and his National Junior Honor Society peers donated 50 brand new toys to the Santa Pal Program. The Santa Pal Program provides toys to children of all ages at Christmas time so they can have a wonderful Christmas! Timothy said, "As I worked with my peers I realized how much they all really cared about others. I learned that so much more can be accomplished if we work together. Together, we were able to help lots of children have a great Christmas!" Sponsor: Lori Hobbs, NJHS Sponsor.
Big Sandy ISD
Daphnie B., 1st year member
Project: Buddy Up Against Hunger - Daphnie and 2 of her friends conducted a food drive and collected 333 kid friendly food items. This food drive benefited the Love Big Sandy Project Buddy Bundles Program. This program helps fill in the gaps for kids who are at risk for hunger on the weekends. Daphnie said, "It was a lot more work than I thought it would be but it paid off and was worth it. The feeling of helping out is great." Sponsor: Sara Turrentine, Cheer Sponsor/GT Teacher.
Callie L., 1st year member
Project: Callie's Creature Comforts - Callie recruited two friends to help make cat toys and sew cat hammocks for the SPCA in Lake Jackson. Together they sewed 5 hammocks and made 54 catnip toys. The hammocks made the cats more comfortable while awaiting adoption, and the catnip toys helped them get adopted because people could see them active, happy, and playing. Callie said, "Planning and organizing this project helped me learn about myself and improve as a leader. Initially, I tried to recruit large groups of people to sew cat hammocks on their own time. I learned that it is hard to get people to follow through when an activity is unscheduled. Next year I will make changes to my project plan based on what I learned." Sponsor: Missy Link, Parent.
Charissa W., 1st year member
Project: Don’t Throw Our Future Away - Charissa recruited volunteers from her school to each pick up ten pieces of trash around the city of Southlake. In doing so, 487 pieces of litter were collected, making Southlake a cleaner and more sustainable community. Participants also learned the power of group efforts and contribution. Charissa said, "I learned that when people unite as a whole, there is little we can’t accomplish." Sponsor: Kendall Smith, Teacher.
Maranda F., 3rd year member
Project: Carolers - Maranda and 10 friends went to Watermere of Southlake Retirement and Memory Care Center to sing for the residents. They sang a variety of holiday songs and then participated in a sing-a-long with the residents. Maranda said, "I felt the real weight and meaning of the project when one of the residents started to cry when we sang her favorite song." Sponsor: Deborah Warner, Choir Director.
College Station ISD
Russ W., 3rd year member
Project: Masks for Healthy Smiles - In an effort to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Russ and seven of his dedicated friends made cloth face masks to donate to the Brazos County Heath Department. His group sewed over 30 cloth face masks to give to citizens in his community who are part of the vulnerable population and who didn't have access to proper protection for COVID-19. The masks were delivered to the Brazos County Health Department, where health officials distributed to those in need. Russ said, "As a leader for this project, I was able to see how volunteering my time for the good of others is appreciated by community organizations." Sponsor: Jennifer Whitfield, Parent.
Kenzie W., 2nd year member
Project: Books for the Bookless - Kenzie and 3 of her friends collected books to be donated to her local library system. They donated 103 books to help promote reading, and built a little free library so kids could take books home and not have a deadline in returning them. Kenzie said, "I had to lead a group of people my age and older, so it was pretty stressful at times. Overall, we surpassed our goal, and it felt good to make a difference." Sponsor: Candace Clifton, Youth Leader.
Copperas Cove ISD
Ariel D., 3rd year member
Project: Walkers of COVE-id 19 - Ariel, with the help of her mother and grandmother, set up a 100 mile challenge. This challenge motivated people to get up and get moving while still in quarantine. The challenge had a $2 entry fee, and all the proceeds went towards the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas. Ariel said, "With this project, I was able to lead a group of 25 individuals into a healthier lifestyle during the quarantine. This helped hone my abilities to interact with adults while in a leadership position." Sponsor: Anne Derby, Parent.
Karen B., 2nd year member
Project: Ju$t A Dollar Drive - Karen and three other friends hosted a donation drive for two weeks at school. The drive was called “Ju$t a dollar drive” because all it takes to make a difference is just a dollar. It’s purpose was to collect money donations to buy books for Pre-K, Kinder, and First grade students at Reed Elementary and to promote literature. In the two weeks they collected $607. They were able to donate two books to each student, 300 total. This showed how such a small thing, like a dollar can really make an impact on someone else. Karen said, "Seeing the end result and the impact on the community was one of the best feelings ever. I overcame many obstacles, and by doing so I became a stronger leader. I also got to better my planning and communication skills." Sponsor: Donna Lord, 8th Grade History Teacher.
Aidan C., 1st year member
Project: Greetings with Memories 2019 – Aidan Chaidez recruited two friends to help him make about 70 greeting cards for Spring Cypress Assisted Living and Memory Care residents. Even though he was not able to personally deliver the cards to each resident as he had originally planned, the administration of the facility happily received them and passed them around the residents at a later time. Aidan enjoyed making the cards from scratch with his friends. Aidan said, "The project took a lot of work but, in the end, we were happy to see that the cards were going to make the residents happy." Sponsor: Kathleen Ramos, Parent.
Abigail B., 3rd year member
Project: BEAR Necessities - Abigail expanded into the digital world with this year’s project in order to grow her volunteer base which included family, friends, church members and strangers, all of whom were willing to donate toys for children in the care of CPS. By using an Amazon donation page (shared via Facebook, Snapchat and email) along with an in-person church toy drive, 246 toys were collected and gifted to children in CPS through the BE A Resource or B.E.A.R. Organization. Thanks to donations like these BE A Resource helped thousands of children in the care of CPS find joy& comfort in dark times. Abigail said, "This year I learned how to better present my service projects to the public, and I think it will go a long way to help others." Sponsor: Amanda Behrens, Parent.
Katya B., 2nd year member
Project: Reading is Fun – Katya, her sister and her good friend Noelanie helped her out with her project “Reading is Fun”. Katya and her friends collected 200 used and donated books for Reed Elementary School. They gave the books out for free during Reed Elementary School’s Family Literacy Night. The students were very excited and took many books home. They couldn’t wait to get home and read their new books. Katya said, "I learned about the process of and how to organizing a successful and fun school event which has helped me become a stronger leader." Sponsor: Jaime Enríquez, Literacy Specialist.
Brandon B., 2nd year member
Project: Supplies for Rescue Animals - Brandon and his twin sister, Bri, helped collect supplies for Animal Rescue Foundation of Texas (ARF) which is a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue organization comprised of several Adoption Centers and a network of foster homes. They recruited their friends and neighbors to help collect cat litter, dog food, and toys for the organization. Brandon and Bri continue to volunteer for ARF as Rescue Rangers. Brandon said, "This service project gave me the opportunity to improve my time management and organizational skills. Planning is so important especially when you are asking others for help." Sponsor: Jeri Sulzman, Medical Director.
Brianna B., 2nd year member
Project: Supplies for Animal Rescue Shelter - Bri and her twin brother Brandon got some of their friends and neighbors to help them get supplies for pet adoption organizations, like dog food, cat litter, and toys. Their project benefited the organization by providing the supplies they asked them to get, and it benefited the kids because they got to see healthy dogs and cats get adopted. Brianna said, "This project helped me as a leader to know that I can lean on other people's shoulders and ask for help when I need it. I don't always need to do things on my own." Sponsor: Jeri Sulzman, Medical Director.
Maddie F., 1st year member
Project: Warm Hearts - Maddie and four friends from the Dickinson ISD STEM Academy teamed up for this service project. They made seven blankets for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston. The blankets will help them feel a little more at home while their loved-ones are in the hospital. Maddie said, "I enjoyed encouraging my friends to take action in our community." Sponsor: Nathan Robinson, Teacher.
Brianna B., 2nd year member
Project: Blankets for Foster Children - Brianna and several Moore County 4H members made no-sew tie blankets for children in the foster system. Children in Moore county benefited by receiving 40 blankets. The 4H members enjoyed visiting with friends while working together. Brianna said, "We learned how to work together to achieve a common goal." Sponsor: Amber Hokanson, 4-H Program Assistant.
Anushka G., 1st year member
Project: Building Better Readers - Anushka and two of her neighbors went around the neighborhood and school to help raise books for their cause. The 150 books they collected went to Bookspring's Rebook program to help children build home libraries, surpassing their goal of 100 books. The experienced helped the girls gain valuable knowledge on how to collect and organize a drive and showed them that there is something everyone can do to give back. Anushka said, "We learned how to organize a drive and to work together in order to reach our goal. At first it was hard and no one seemed to agree on where to start, but once we got our act together and started collecting books, we were able to surpass our goal." Sponsor: Monali Godambe, Parent.
Mia S., 3rd year member
Project: Soar, Succeed, and Accomplish - Mia, with the help of local business Lucky's Septic Service, collected frozen turkeys and canned and boxed goods and donated them to 25 families in her school district that would otherwise go without a hot Thanksgiving meal. Mia also volunteered her extra time to tutor kids and assisted teachers with grading, organizing and cleaning after school. Additionally, Mia donated school supplies for kids that may have not had what was needed for distance learning during the school closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and she continued to assist and tutor kids virtually. The services Mia provided benefited ECISD students. Mia said, "My leadership skills were definitely tested this school year. I thought outside the box and I was able to continue helping students in a way that definitely tested and strengthened my leadership skills. It was a heartwarming experience." Sponsor: Luis Nieto, Owner, Lucky's Septic Service.
El Paso ISD
Katherine K., 2nd year member
Project: Last Warriors Cheer Camp - Katie and two of her cheer teammates conducted a two day cheer camp at the feeder elementary school, Mitzi Bond. The project was chosen to inspire the students at Mitzi Bond to want to join the cheer team at the new Don Haskins School. It was also a great way to expand their leadership skills and celebrate the “Last of the Lincoln Warriors” with the future Sun Bears, as their campus will be changing from a middle school to a K-8 campus next year. Eight participants learned how to warm-up and stretch, different cheer motions, a cheer and a dance. At the end of the camp, each participant received a gift bag and a certificate. They were also invited to one of their games to watch their half-time performance. Katherine said, "We had several challenges; however, we were able to overcome them and work together as a team to make the cheer camp successful." Sponsor: Tifni Cadena, Teacher.
Fort Bend ISD
Charlize L., 4th year member
Project: Give a Coat, Share the Warmth - Charlize recruited four friends, along with her family, to donate warm clothing, in person, to the homeless community and to women and children who have suffered through domestic abuse. The group went to Tent City (a location reserved for homeless people) and Star of Hope (a homeless shelter.) The group collected 93 coats and about $2,790 worth of warm necessities. Charlize and her friends left with new memories and learned the importance of appreciating what you have. Charlize said, "The only way one can truly progress through the path of life: is to not focus ahead or look behind or look to the sky, but to look at the people you pass by, changing your life for the better. This experience created an understanding of how much more people could help and to appreciate everything, including flaws." Sponsor: Jam Lopez, Teacher.
Fort Bend ISD
Ethan L., 3rd year member
Project: Toys for Dogs - Ethan originally planned to create 200 dog toys out of old t-shirts with the help of volunteers at his middle school. However, due to recent events, he was unable to meet with others to make them. Ethan changed his plans, and instead made 50 dog toys by himself, to donate to Sugar Land Animal Services once the Covid-19 lockdown has ended. Ethan said, "I was able to learn how to deal with external conflicts that forced me to learn how to be flexible, and change my plans." Sponsor: Jessica Fitzpatrick, Librarian.
Fort Bend ISD
Reena D., 2nd year member
Project: Book Drive - Reena and three friends collected 280 books as well as $130 for the El Franco Lee Clinic Reach Out and Read Organization. The donations provided entertainment for the little kids. El Franco Lee Clinic patients received the entertainment they could not afford. Reena said, "I learned what it means to work together as a team." Sponsor: Michelle Tedja, Doctor.
Fort Bend ISD
Rohan D., 1st year member
Project: Ronald McDonald House Charities Food and Toy Drive - Rohan and two school friends collected food and toys from their local community to donate to the Holcombe House of Ronald McDonald House Houston. They collected over 300 items, including a variety of canned goods, books, and other toys, to be used by families living at the Holcombe House. This helped to reduce the recipients' stress by letting them not have to focus on getting the money to buy their next meal or toy, but instead on more important matters going on in their lives. Rohan said, "By helping my local community, I gained numerous invaluable skills for being a leader involving working with others, community service, and communication skills." Sponsor: Ami Dharia, Doctor.
Fort Bend ISD
Emma L., 6th year member
Project: Face Masks for the Community - Emma initially created a crochet club at her school to make crochet squares to donate to Warm Up America. Due to the pandemic, they are currently not accepting donations, so she decided to sew 20 face masks with the fabric she had at home for friends and family in her community. She hopes that these masks will encourage staying healthy during this time. Emma said, "I learned how to adapt in difficult situations. Even though my project didn't end the way I had planned for it to, I was still able to contribute to a more immediate need in my community." Sponsor: Glenys McMennamy, Teacher.
Fort Worth ISD
Riley K., 4th year member
Project: Organizing Volunteers at the Tarrant Area Food Bank - Riley and several of his peers from school volunteered at the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Tasked with helping to pack large boxes with a variety of donated food, they spent several hours packing a few dozen boxes which would eventually go to families in need of food. The students got a look into how organizations like TAFB help those in need. Riley said, "One thing I learned was that you should have contingencies in case something goes wrong. In a stroke of bad luck, a few long time friends of mine had family emergencies that meant they couldn't come, and I hadn't thought to make sure I had replacements since they were very reliable and trustworthy." Sponsor: Penni Askew, Parent.
Rahul N., 2nd year member
Project: Souper Caner - Rahul recruited two friends, Aryan and Pranav, and they collected over 100 food cans from their communities and donated them to benefit the children at City House Plano homeless children shelter. Rahul said, "We worked together as a team to satisfy the hunger of homeless children." Sponsor: Lisa Rodgers, Director of Volunteer Resources.
Galena Park ISD
Casey W., 3rd year member
Project: Share the Love with B.I.G. Love Cancer Care - Casey recruited his friend Arianna to help with a collection drive for B.I.G. Love Cancer Care. Together, they collected over 580 items that B.I.G. Love needs for their New Patient Care bags at Texas Children's Hospital. Most families are admitted to the cancer unit after long hours in the emergency room and arrive to the cancer unit unprepared and lacking the most basic necessities from home. Casey said, "I have a friend who lived at Texas Children's Hospital for nine months when he was in the first grade. B.I.G. Love was a blessing to him and his family then and is still blessing families in BIG ways today! Anytime I am at the grocery store with my mom and see things like toiletries and laundry detergent, right away I think of B.I.G. Love and their ongoing needs for cancer patients." Sponsor: Kellie Runkle, Director of Operations, B.I.G. Love Cancer Care.
Sarah B., 2nd year member
Project: Caring for a Cause - Sarah and two friends collected clothes for a local donation center, which uses the money they make to benefit the people in Georgetown. Sarah donated over 15 large leaf bags of clothes. It made her realize how truly lucky she was. Sarah said, "People never truly understand how blessed they are until they experience the other side fist hand" Sponsor: Nicholas Edwards, Teacher and Coach.
Renee S., 1st year member
Project: Leis for NICU graduates at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Honolulu, Hawaii. - Renee and eight of her friends and family members banded together to make 100 crocheted leis for NICU graduates at Tripler Army Medical Center, where Renee and her little sister were taken care of when they were born. Over 30 people, from 10 states, also made monetary contributions for lei materials, with donations coming from neighbors at different duty stations and even Tripler Army Medical Center former NICU nurses and physicians. Renee said, "I was amazed at how fast we were able to get people to assist with the money for materials and friends and family to help make the leis. Better together, teamwork makes the dream work!" Sponsor: Kali Saleh, Teacher.
Drew S., 2nd year member
Project: Donating Food and Supplies During the Pandemic - Drew enlisted his parents instead of his friends (because of quarantine) to donate food, water, and toiletries to the Dining Car and the Greenhouse in Sherman, Texas. He used his own money to buy and donate 50 boxes of food, 5 packages of water bottles, and 3 boxes of toiletries to these organizations. The Dining Car, led by a member of Drew's 2019 mission trip, Sara Tarvin, bags food and gives it to homeless people or those who cannot afford it themselves. Drew said, "This service project has helped me as a leader by causing me to feel more empathetic to those who cannot afford common necessities and has helped me become much more grateful for the opportunities and things I have." Sponsor: Maureen Smith, Parent.
Lindsey D., 1st year member
Project: Recycling Matters - Lindsey and three of her friends collected over 300 pounds of paper over the course of five months at their school, Hallsville Junior High. The paper was taken to Rivers Recycling in Kilgore, Texas; Once there, the paper was baled and shipped throughout the country where it was converted into new recycled items. Due to the fact that the school district does not have a recycling program, it was a beneficial project to the environment and the school. Lindsey said, "I learned not to just sit back and do nothing about a current problem; but instead not only get up and do it, but lead others through the journey." Sponsor: Carolyn Cole, School Counselor.
Aiden M., 2nd year member
Project: Toys and Supply Drive for Burke Center for Youth - Aiden recruited his friends to help him organize a toy and toiletry donation drive for the Burke Center for Youth which provides therapeutic experiences and treatment services on a ranch to young men and boys from all parts of Texas. The group filled gift bags with the donated items and delivered them to the boys at the Center. In addition, the group decided to help out by picking up small rocks from a baseball field. Aiden said, "This experience helped me improve as a leader. We learned the importance of communication and teamwork." Sponsors: Elizabeth Hollinger, Teacher, and Stephen Coffee, Teacher and Mentor.
Grayson C., 3rd year member
Project: Operation Cozy Care - Grayson and her fellow National Honor Society Members gathered together to tie 25 blankets for children at High Plains Children's Home in Amarillo, Texas. In addition to tying blankets for the children, the students learned how to work as a team to accomplish their goal. Grayson said, "I learned how to work with others as a team to achieve our goal and it felt great knowing that I was able to help give kids something special!" Sponsor: Jaci Chapman, Parent.
Camille A., 7th year member
Project: 8th Annual Interact Club International Festival Cultural Performance - Camille and the other ten members of the Cultural Performance Show Committee produced a showcase which highlighted cultural songs and dances from over forty student artists from the Greater Houston Area. The showcase was put together in conjunction with the Carnegie Vanguard Interact Rotary Club's International Festival. The proceeds from this year's festival go towards building a STEM lab for a school recently built in Puerto Rico. The school's construction was financed by the proceeds from last year's I-fest (in conjunction with Camille's service project from last year). Camille said, "I learned how to effectively delegate, and what it means to train someone to take your position. I practiced patience, trust, and organization in an entirely new way." Sponsor: Miyuki Scott, Adult Sponsor, Interact Rotary Club.
Anthony R., 3rd year member
Project: Goodies for the Homeless - Anthony collected over 100 toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and hairbrushes. With the help of family he was able to create about 100 bags for the homeless. Once completed he donated to local homeless shelters. Anthony said, "Although it required a lot of work in the end it felt good to help people in need." Sponsor: Esmeralda Rodriguez, Parent.
Christine R., 4th year member
Project: Music To You Holiday Chorus - Christine and 20 of her freshmen, sophomore and junior friends in the vocal department at The Kinder High School for The Performing and Visual Arts, visited and sang at Brazos Tower at Bayou Manor senior home. Christine and her group went to different resident homes, common areas, game rooms and more and sang for different citizens in different groups. Later that week, the same group went to go sing for a local elementary school with hopes to spread holiday cheer to children in need. In addition to singing for the seniors and kids, Christine and her friends prepared 60 gift bags filled with socks for the winter time and ornaments for the senior citizens to enjoy. The performances both benefited the students experiences in performing and also brought the seniors and elementary students holiday cheer and priceless reactions to a variety of different but beautiful voices. Christine said, This experience has taught me so much about not only my leadership abilities but also how to work with my peers. It gave me the opportunity to work on my flexibility as a leader and taught me the importance of being open minded and patient." Sponsor: Yuying Liu, Associate Professor, UT Health.
Raja B., 1st year member
Project: Quarantine Care - Raja, along with his brother Taj, requested donations from family members to provide underwear and socks to the Star of Hope Mission, a local shelter for homeless families. Underwear and socks are highly needed and are not often donated to the shelter. In total, 118 pairs of socks and 192 pairs of underwear were provided for the men, women, boys, and girls living at the shelter.. Raja said, "I learned that when circumstances change, leaders need to adapt." Sponsor: Katja Chambers, Teacher.
Michael A., 1st year member
Project: Yard Maintenance - Michael helped a neighbor who had two children and a newborn by pulling weeds. Michael wanted to help them so they can spend more time with their family. Michael said, "I took initiative to help a neighbor in need." Sponsor: Amy Brooks, Director.
Kaitlyn S., 3rd year member
Project: Stuff Out Cancer - Kaitlyn and her school district collected stuffed animals to donate to Texas Children’s Cancer center. Kaitlyn’s service project collected 2,596 stuffed animals. This helped the pediatric cancer patients have something to comfort them in the hospital. Kaitlyn said, "This project helped me learn to appreciate the things that I have." Sponsor: Robert Sitton, Humble ISD Board Member.
Elizabeth B., 1st year member
Project: Fill the Sock Drive - Elizabeth and members of her church youth group collected approximately 400 items to fill Christmas socks for the Krause Children's Center. The group filled bags with socks, make-up, games and other items to be distributed to the 60 girls that are residents of Krause. Krause Children's Center provides a place for girls 12-17 years of age that have suffered traumatic situations a place to grow and heal. Elizabeth said, "My project helped me improve my communication skills because I had to communicate with the people helping me as well as individuals at Krause." Sponsor: Mark England, Pastor.
Ethan C., 1st year member
Project: Cards for Troops Overseas - Ethan gathered five of his friends to write and send 100 cards to encourage US servicemen and women overseas. The cards were mailed to the USO in Kuwait. The cards provided the service personnel a touch of home and support. Ethan said, "COVID-19 presented a problem because we weren’t all able to complete the project together as planned. It helped me to become a better leader because I had to problem-solve a way to complete the task on time. I am very excited to have the troops receive this package of cards." Sponsor: Michelle Clark, Parent.
Lago Vista ISD
Haylee G., 1st year member
Project: Singing for Service - Haylee planned for her and two friends to perform songs at local nursing homes over spring break, but the pandemic stopped this from happening. Haylee performed three songs on YouTube instead. Haylee said, "The pandemic created several setbacks for me. In the end I had to work by myself to create music for others. I worked with my sponsor, who is also my music teacher, to re-key the songs." Sponsor: Eric Mancilla, Music Teacher.
Aidan C., 2nd year member
Project: BookSpring Book Drive - Aidan Cox enlisted fellow members of the National Junior Honor Society to collect books for BookSpring, an organization that collects and distributes books to families in need throughout Central Texas. The group set up a book drive in the school and collected 75 books. BookSpring will distribute the books to children and families in Central Texas that would otherwise not have access to books to help build early literacy in these children. Aidan said, "It felt amazing to know that we were able to share the love of reading with those who don’t have easy access to books." Sponsor: Brittani Hauser, NJHS Sponsor.
Lily T., 3rd year member
Project: Goodies for Leaders - Lily Tran and four other students at her school made and distributed about 60 goodie bags for teachers and other student leaders who have made a large impact at their school. The bags showed the students’ appreciation of teachers and student leaders who have changed and improved their community in a positive way during the holiday season. Lily said, "We encountered some difficulties with enough supplies for all the goodie bags and finding a good time to hand them out, but it was a fun and gratifying experience to be able to give back to those who give our community so much." Sponsor: Kevin Tran, Father.
Sophia J., 1st year member
Project: Scrunchies for Squishies - Sophia and three of her friends from sports made and sold scrunchies to local supporters and gave 70 squishies to Altus, their local hospital. Altus's pediatric patients received comfort and joy from the toys. Sophia said, "We got to have fun and help people and it filled us with joy." Sponsor: Trenton Robertson, Director of Strategy and Business Development.
Graham H., 1st year member
Project: Maud Middle "Can" - Graham and four of his friends launched the largest caned food drive in school history. The response was overwhelming, as the group collected a total of 3,231 canned food items. The food helped those in need in the community of Maud during the holiday season. Graham said, "Seeing the cans all in one location - it really hit me what a good thing our school has done. When you all come together for one cause, great things can be accomplished." Sponsor: Kayla Harrell, School Counselor.
Lauren C., 1st year member
Project: Snacks for the Elderly - Lauren, her parents, and her grandparent went to Brookdale Senior Living during special holidays to provide snacks and treats to the residents. The project brought happiness to the seniors. Lauren said, "I enjoyed making people's day better and that helped me become a stronger leader." Sponsor: Holley Chandler, Teacher/Parent.
Tyler H., 2nd year member
Project: Spreading the Love - Tyler Haynes enlisted his brother and two sisters to help him fill bags of 'love' for those being served by Angel Reach, a faith-based nonprofit that works with kids who have aged out of the foster care system. They baked brownies and cookies to fill the bags so others would feel loved. Tyler delivered the bags to the Angel Reach offices the week of Valentine's Day for distribution to their clients. Tyler said, "I am really blessed and I liked being able to help people who don't have as much." Sponsor: Jacob Torrez, Student Ministry Director, Montgomery UMC.
Jayson K., 3rd year member
Project: Leave it for the Pooch - Reaching the Youth - Jayson started a project to collect two t-shirts each from rescues and shelters all over the world. He wore a different rescue/shelter's shirt to school each day of the school year to promote awareness of the organizations and the need to spay/neuter pets, and had the other shirts made into quilts. The quilts will be auctioned off and funds raised will be donate to corresponding shelters/rescues. Jayson said, "Working with everyone on this project has really helped to strengthen my leadership skills and my ability to lead in general." Sponsor: Kim Kimberly, Parent.
Sam F., 5th year member
Project: For Good Measure - Sam enlisted the help of his fellow band mates to collect food for the Montgomery County Food Bank. The group collected and donated 150 pounds of canned food as well as $500 in donations just in time for Thanksgiving. As a result, the project helped the Food Bank provide nearly 3,000 meals to Montgomery County citizens. Sam said, "Speaking in front of a large group of my peers (band mates) helped me gain experience in public speaking and motivating others." Sponsor: Robert Cameron, Director of Bands, Montgomery High School.
Lindsi T., 6th year member
Project: Birthdays in a Bag - Lindsi enlisted the help of her church's youth group to help her raise over $800 to put birthday bags together for the Guadalupe Valley Family Violence Shelter. The bags, which contained all the items needed to have a birthday party (cake mix, cake pan, icing, candles, plates, forks, napkins, balloons, and streamers, along with a gift of either a story book or an activity book), were given to mothers receiving assistance from the family violence shelter. Many of these mothers would not otherwise be able to provide their kids with a birthday celebration. Lindsi said, "Working with a little less help this year, I got better at seeing opportunities and capitalizing on them, ultimately making me a more well-rounded leader." Sponsor: Donna Ewald, Retired 5th Grade Teacher.
Emilie J., 4th year member
Project: Mustang Baton Twirling Club - Emilie recruited nine fifth and sixth graders to participate in the Mustang Baton Twirling Club. In the fall, the students met weekly to practice for a Friday Night Lights performance with the intent of using the sport of baton twirling to encourage school spirit while revitalizing the program within the student body. In the spring, eligible students met once a month to prepare for middle school twirler try-outs. Many community members reminisced on social media about their positive experience twirling while they were students at Nixon-Smiley CISD, and of their excitement about the twirling opportunity given to their children and grandchildren through this club. Emilie said, "Leading a group of 10-12 year olds taught me that when someone trusts you to lead them, failure is not an option. Meeting young people's expectations is a great responsibility and challenges one's growth in leadership." Sponsor: Tasha Janicek, Twirler Sponsor, Nixon-Smiley High School.
North East ISD
Griffin O., 2nd year member
Project: Community Mask Project - Griffin and all of his family worked together to produce over 25 face masks to give to his neighbors. Donations were accepted and donated to the San Antonio Food Bank. Griffin said, "I had to learn to change things as the situation evolved. It was tough, but I did it." Sponsor: Germaine Oliver, Parent.
Matthew J., 4th year member
Project: Donating English and Chinese Books to Elementary Schools in China - Matthew enlisted the help of his fellow classmates to collect used English or Chinese children's books to be delivered to schools in China. While the project sustained major hindrance with the COVID-19 outbreak, the group, nonetheless, succeeded. Matthew said, "Growing up in China, I loved to read books. Going from shelf to shelf in my school’s library, I can jump from stories of a journey to the west to an encyclopedia about planets in this galaxy. As a leader, I have learned to expand this passion to other people, inspiring them to read, too." Sponsor: Chengdong Liu, Director/Consultant.
Ava S., 3rd year member
Project: Book Buddies Book Drive - Ava asked people at her school to donate books. She collected 45 books and donated them to book buddies, a group that provides kids with books to read that they otherwise could not afford. Ava said, "I learned how to advocate for a cause I feel passionate about." Sponsor: Laura Sullivan, GLA, National Charity League.
Mazie J., 2nd year member
Project: Rockwall County Helping Hands Spring Food Drive - Mazie and her brother, Maddoc, recruited six friends to collect canned and other non-perishable food items. In total, they collected 56 items and donated them to the food pantry at Rockwall County Helping Hands. As a result, Helping Hands was able to provide food to families that were not able to afford it during the pandemic. Mazie said, "I learned that a leader must be adaptable and optimistic. Once my school was moved online and my county issued shelter-in-place orders, we had to adjust our plan to succeed, all-the-while staying positive about the outcome." Sponsor: Jon Bailey, President and CEO, Rockwall County Helping Hands.
Maddoc J., 1st year member
Project: Food Drive - My sister and I collected non-perishable food to give to people who were unable to go shopping during the pandemic. Maddoc said, "I realized how many people don’t actually get food." Sponsor: Jon Bailey, President and CEO, Rockwall County Helping Hands.
Round Rock ISD
Annalise B., 2nd year member
Project: Growing Food for the Community - Annalise and three of her friends volunteered at Urban Roots farm. They helped weed, harvest carrots, and roll-up drip hose. Urban Roots donates thousands of pounds of food to hunger relief centers each year. Annalise said, "Volunteering at Urban Roots made me appreciate how much work goes into the fruits and vegetables that we take for granted each day." Sponsor: Eric Starkloff, Former Board Member, Urban Roots.
Round Rock ISD
Collin H., 6th year member
Project: Community Donation Drive for the Local Animal Shelter - Collin recruited his neighbors to help gather 150+ items their local animal shelter in Williamson County needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donated items helped the animals and helped keep the building safe. Collin said, "My project helped more than I originally thought it would. It helped me realize that it takes a community and great leadership abilities to help the cause we served during unprecedented times." Sponsor: Taylor Ory, Youth Ministries Director.
Levi U., 2nd year member
Project: Family Promise of Grayson County Fundraiser - Levi enlisted members of his Scout Troop and Band members to raise money for Family Promise of Grayson County. The group collected $1200 to purchase gift cards for this non-profit organization. This benefits homeless families with children by providing gift cards to be used for gasoline and/or personal care items. Levi said, "Although the COVID-19 outbreak caused our event to be postponed and ultimately cancelled, I adapted by creating an online platform for donations to offset the setback." Sponsor: Leigh Walker, Director.
Ashli V., 2nd year member
Project: First Annual Comfort Me Blanket Drive - Ashli recruited two NJHS classmates to help spearhead her first annual “Comfort Me Blanket Drive”. The trio collected 168 blankets from three campuses within their school district to benefit residents at Valley Grande Manor Nursing Home, the NICU Unit at Knapp Medical Center, and students from Dr. R. E. Margo Elementary and Cleckler Heald Elementary. Although Ashli was not able to directly witness the excitement and gratitude of the recipients due to the pandemic, the staff assured her that her donations were greatly appreciated. Ashli said, "I am a firm believer that giving frees me from my own needs by opening my eyes to the needs of others. I know that I can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone." Sponsor: Elisa Rodriguez, Teacher.
Logan C., 2nd year member
Project: Neighborhood Pantry Select - Logan and six of his classmates sorted pantry items and packed meals into boxes at the Houston Food Bank. The meals were sent out to pantries all around the Houston area. In the course of one day, they packed 4,200 boxed meals for low-income families. Logan said, "Through this experience, I learned that it takes organization and a willingness to serve to truly have a successful service project." Sponsor: Corey Anderson, Teacher.
Kristopher H., 2nd year member
Project: Warm Blanket Drive - Kristopher, with help from ARS International, American Airlines, Brew HaHa, The Royal Treatment Pet Manor & Grooming Spa, Best N Show Pet Salon, Salassi's Jewelry, and neighbors via the NextDoor App, collected blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, toys, dog food, and a check for Friends of the Animals of Baton Rouge (FOTA BR) and a cat post for the Cat Haven of Baton Rouge. FOTA BR and Cat Haven are nonprofit organizations that rescue animals and re-home them. The donations helped with the needs and care of the many rescue animals. Kristopher said, "During this time, I learned that a good leader needs to be flexible and resourceful. My collecting was scheduled to begin in early March when the pandemic struck. I had to be flexible and resourceful to find ways to still collect donations when the stores/offices were closed. I learned to used the NextDoor App to facilitate porch collecting from my neighbors while maintaining our social distance." Sponsor: Marlea Hodgin, Parent/Senior Safety Specialist, American Airlines
Anya A., 3rd year member
Project: Education in Action - Anya collaborated with twelve of her Girl Scout Troop friends to help paint and prepare the new Fannie C. Harris Youth Shelter for homeless Dallas ISD youth. With the help of Reading Partners, they collected 1,000 books to stock the education center. The project benefits unsheltered high school youth ages 14-21 who are in need of a transitional living facility. Anya said, "I learned that no matter the odds, when we come together, we can accomplish the impossible." Sponsor: Lydia Dubose, Project Coordinator.
Hannah M., 2nd year member
Project: Operation Christmas Card - Hannah worked with kindergarten through fifth grade students at Trinity School of Texas to make and collect Christmas cards for troops stationed overseas as part of their Veterans Day activities. In total, 140 cards were made and collected and, in conjunction with Operation Christmas Cards for Troops Overseas, sent to an Army Post Office to be distributed to active duty military. Hannah said, "I enjoyed working with the other students to make the cards and hope that the cards we made were a blessing for troops who may not be with their families during the holiday season." Sponsor: Gary Whitwell, Head of School, Trinity School of Texas.
Jacob P., 3rd year member
Project: The Snack Sack Program - Jacob recruited the students at North Texas Leadership Academy to help him collect over 3,000 snack and single heat meal items to donate to the Met Church Food Bank. The Food Bank distributed the donations to families in need. Jacob said, "I learned that a little bit of food goes a long way for people who need it." Sponsor: Jennifer Pasteur, Executive Director, North Texas Leadership Academy.