Alumni Council Members' Service Projects
Sixty outstanding students from across Texas completed the 2020-2021 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council program. Members represented 38 school districts, five private schools, and one charter school. You may read about each of the member's individual projects, below and/or in the printable Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council Newsletter!
Varun H., 7th grader, Ereckson Middle School, 1st year member
Project: Salvation Army Book Drive - Varun collected 80 books from his community and donated them to the Salvation Army. These books will be sold for an affordable price and the money received from the sales will go to charity from Salvation Army.
Christy Z., 2nd year member
Project: Adopt-a-Resident: Christmas Edition - Christy recruited her fellow Ballinger High School FCCLA chapter members to make and sell gingerbread cookies to raise funds for gifts for residents of two nursing homes in her town. They raised enough money to adopt four angels from their local Walmart. In addition, Christy delivered more than 100 Christmas cards to Central Texas Nursing and Rehabilitation and Ballinger Healthcare and Rehab Center. Christy said, "My team and I learned to adapt quickly to the encountered obstacles and to make the most out of this project!" Sponsor: Stephanie Bowsher, FCCLA Sponsor
Timothy J., 3rd year member
Project: Heart of Texas Goodwill Community Donations - Timothy enlisted three of his friends to collect various donations from their families and community. The group donated more than 20 toys and several bags of clothes and shoes for the local Goodwill Community Center. Timothy said, "We learned how to work together and relate to the community in different ways. This helped me improve as a leader as I recognized and appreciated the uniqueness of each person we interacted with." Sponsor: Ted Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Miles M., 2nd year member
Project: Donations for Dogs… and Other Shelter Pets - Miles worked with his classmates and principal Kris Hobson at Lake Belton Middle School to gather donations for animals at the Bell County Animal Shelter. Together, they collected three bags of dog food, three bags of cat food, kitty litter, dog and cat treats, and warm and cozy blankets. The shelter appreciated the donations the animals. Miles said, "I learned that it is useful to become friends with everybody so that when you need them, they will be there for you and willing to help." Sponsor: Kris Hobson, Principal.
Big Sandy ISD
Daphnie B., 2nd year member
Project: Let's Can Hunger - Daphnie and her fellow varsity cheerleaders hosted a canned food drive at Big Sandy Elementary where grades Pre-K through fifth participated by donating nonperishable food items. A total of 136 items were collected and donated to the Big Sandy Agape House, a local nonprofit that provides those in need with food, clothing, and financial assistance. The donated items made it possible for families within the community to have food they could not otherwise afford. Daphnie said, "I was able to learn to work alongside my teammates to accomplish a goal that benefitted others." Sponsor: Summer McCartney, Varsity Cheer Sponsor.
Amber F., 1st year member
Project: Virtual Fundraiser for The American Red Cross - Amber, with the help of two friends, founded a Red Cross Club at her high school. In support of National Red Cross Month in March, they organized a virtual fundraiser through Instagram and raised $860, exceeding their original goal of $500 by 172%. The funds raised went directly to the American Red Cross to help victims of various crises. The donation was especially significant this year given the global hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amber said, "My service project was both challenging and rewarding as I had to adapt to unforeseen circumstances out of my control, resulting in the adaptation of my project for a virtual setting. I loved how I was able to create a fundraiser that allowed my entire school community to be involved and contribute. Establishing the Red Cross Club and this fundraiser has given me more leadership experience and inspiration to seek out ways to benefit my community and peers." Sponsor: Jenny Breuer, Red Cross Club Sponsor.
Callie L., 2nd year member
Project: NJHS Canned Food Drive - Callie recruited her classmates and fellow NJHS members at Lake Jackson Intermediate School to collect items for The Food Basket Interfaith Food Bank. The group donated over 200 items weighing more than 200 pounds. The donations were distributed to local families with food insecurity. Callie said, "I learned a lot about project marketing and publicity and gained experience working with my school administration to get things done." Sponsor: Justin Faith, NJHS Sponsor.
Charissa W., 2nd year member
Project: Hygiene Kits for COVID-19 - Charissa enlisted students from her local high school to collect donations to sponsor hygiene kits for those in need during the pandemic. They collected over $700 worth of donations, enough to sponsor 70 kits. As a result, those without regular access to critical hygiene items will be able to receive them and stay healthy and safe during the pandemic. Charissa said, "From this experience I learned that there are times you have to step out of your comfort zone and all these experiences go towards making you a better leader. There is nothing more gratifying and rewarding than knowing you are making a difference in the world around you. Never underestimate the impact you can make on this world." Sponsor: Laura Pendergrass, Teacher.
Kenzie W., 3rd year member
Project: Share a Spare - Kenzie and three friends set up ten boxes around her school to collect donations for the Salvation Army. The collection helped people in Salvation Army’s care receive the help they needed including clothes. In addition to the good feeling the students got from helping others, they also realized how privileged they are to have basic necessities and stability. Kenzie said, "I faced many difficulties, but the project made me feel accomplished. This experience helped me grow in both leadership and experience." Sponsor: Candace Clifton, Youth Group Leader.
Katya B.R., 3rd year member
Project: Easter Reading - Katya and two friends gave away Easter goodie bags and books to Reed Elementary Pre-K and kindergarten students. In total, they donated 80 books and goodie bags. The kids were very happy and sent them an email saying how much they enjoyed their new books. Katya said, "This experience helped me learn how to deal with unexpected complications and still come out on top." Sponsor: Sandra Pichardo, Teacher.
Karen B.R., 3rd year member
Project: Books-N-Bags - Karen and two friends from school collected donations from local small businesses to make handmade Easter goodie bags for Gleason Elementary Pre-K and kindergarten students. Ninety students received a book along with their goodie bag. This fun project left smiles on everyone’s faces. Karen said, "This experience opened my eyes to the possibilities of helping others in my community." Sponsor: Leticia Rios, Teacher.
Abigail B., 4th year member
Project: BEAR Necessities - Abigail created a GoFundMe account to create a safe and socially distant, yet effective, fourth year Alumni Council service project, which allowed her and her four friends to limit the number of people involved in handling the toiletries they collected to make hygiene packs. The group filled 254 gallon-size Ziploc bags each with shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and, due to the ongoing pandemic, a face mask. All 254 packs were delivered to the B.E.A.R. Organization, a nonprofit organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them within Harris County. The impact was immediate as the supplies were available for distribution upon arrival. Abigail said, "I learned that sometimes circumstances are unavoidable and you have to adapt to succeed." Sponsor: Amanda Behrens, Mother.
Kortni F., 1st year member
Project: Kits by Kortni - Kortni, her sister, and one of her friends created 100 science experiment kits to inspire young girls of color, ages 6-12, interested in STEM fields. These kits were distributed to two elementary schools and two organizations in Dallas. In addition to giving away kits, they also raised $150 for For Oak Cliff, a nonprofit organization. Kortni said, "This entire experience made me realize that goal-reaching is not linear. There are factors that I may not be able to take into account all of the time, but, through persistence, ultimately I'll get where I want to be." Sponsor: Candice Bledsoe, Professor and Social Entrepreneur.
Cammeron K., 1st year member
Project: Walker House Cleanup - Cammeron, four of his siblings, and fellow Boy Scouts from Boy Scout Pack 403 cleaned up the kids' playroom and the workout room at a Veteran Assistance Home, the Walker House, supported by Texoma Community Center. The group spent seven hours making sure all games had all pieces, throwing out trash and old items, vacuuming, moving furniture, wiping everything down, and reorganizing everything into an easy to find system for every age group. Their help benefited local veterans and their families to give them a safe, clean, and organized place for their children to play while their adult guardians use the facilities and many other services. Cammeron said, "Cleaning and organizing things with my siblings and scout members helped me learn that I need to do my part in society to show others how to work together as a team and to show them how to do things if they need help. A great leader helps everyone strive to be better." Sponsor: Penny Poolaw, Military Veteran Peer Network Coordinator.
Brandon B., 3rd year member
Project: Cleaning up for Education - Brandon recruited his sister and two neighbors to help him pick up trash at Harpool Middle School. Brandon said, "This project helped better me as a person and as a student. Working with my awesome neighbors and sister, we were able to make the world just a little bit cleaner." Sponsor: Jeff Smith, Principal, Harpool Middle School.
Dripping Springs ISD
Natalee S., st year member
Project: Dog and Cat Treats - Natalee and her friend baked treats for animals at their local animal shelter. The treats were given to Paws Animal Shelter at Dripping Springs to brighten the days of the animals at the shelter. Natalee said, "I created treats to help animals who have probably been through a lot in their lifetime. I learned that some animals have had terrible lives and that everyone should help them." Sponsor: Andrea McCarthy, Coach.
Ector County ISD
Mia S., 4th year member
Project: Soar, Succeed, and Accomplish - Mia enlisted the support of a local business, Lucky's Septic Service, and her cousin and brother with whom she isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. They collected frozen turkeys along with boxed and canned goods and donated them to 40 families in Mia's school district that would otherwise go without a hot Thanksgiving meal. Additionally, Mia tutored students virtually in all school subjects. Mia said, "My siblings and I learned to work together and improved our communication with each other as we had to overcome several unique obstacles this year set forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience allowed me to grow into a stronger leader. Providing assistance to students and their families when they most need it brings me great satisfaction." Sponsor: Luis Nieto, Owner, Lucky's Septic Service.
El Paso ISD
Katie K., 3rd year member
Project: Supporting El Pasoans Fighting Hunger - Katie and two of her peers raised $400 for the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank. Every $1 raised equated to seven meals donated. The project goal was to raise $200 equalling 1,400 meals; the group doubled their goal, donating 2,800 meals to El Pasoans experiencing food insecurity, an issue compounded in the community by the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie said, "Completing a service project during the pandemic was a challenge due to restrictions and fundraising efforts being mainly virtual. It was rewarding to give back to our community by helping those experiencing difficulty meeting their basic needs." Sponsor: Maggie Ensley, Teacher and Cheer Coach.
Fort Bend ISD
Reena D., 3rd year member
Project: Helping the Homeless - Reena and three of her friends handmade a total of 86 cloth masks for the Coalition for the Homeless. They improved the safety of the less fortunate as well as the staff handing out the masks. This project made the homeless and staff feel more safe upon interaction with others. Reena said, "This experience helped me realize that as a leader obstacles are going to get thrown my way, but I have to always keep the benefit and end result in mind." Sponsor: Caybryn Southern, Strategic Planning and Public Affairs Coordinator, Coalition for the Homeless.
Fort Bend ISD
Rohan D., 2nd year member
Project: Programming for Beginners Crash Course and Fundraiser - Rohan and a friend taught a free, virtual programming class for beginner coders using the Java programming language. They taught 30 people from middle schools across their school district. In addition to spreading knowledge and awareness about programming and computer science, the students were encouraged to make a donation. The donations, totalling $50, went to the Houston-based Technology for All nonprofit organization. Rohan said, "It was amazing to be able to spread knowledge about the increasingly prevalent field of computer science, and by conducting the class, I improved my own leadership skills. Continuing to do this can make a truly significant impact on the world, and the knowledge of computer science for those middle school students will continue to benefit them throughout their educations and lives." Sponsor: Rajiv Mehta, Robotics Coach.
Sansdhitha A., 4th year member
Project: Compassion Campaign NAMA (North American Ayyangars Association), Inc. - Sansdhitha and her friends organized a COVID Compassion project, where they reached out to senior citizens across the country by making weekly phone calls, and inquired about their well-being, safety, and any assistance required during these COVID times. They were able to organize and work with community leaders to arrange for shelter, food, and other necessities for those who needed it. Sansdhitha and her friends called 100 families. They gave donations and other forms of help to around 55 people who needed assistance; the other 45 families were safe and had all the necessities they needed. Sansdhitha said, "I learned a lot about how to effectively communicate with others who may not be as receptive; this helped me mature and grow stronger as a leader" Sponsor: Linda Riley, Teacher.
Rahul N., 3rd year member
Project: Toilet Paper Roll - Rahul recruited two friends to collect 102 toilet paper rolls from their community and donated them to the City House Plano homeless children's shelter. Rahul said, "Coordinating and working together with my friends, family, and the residents in our community was a great learning experience. We learned how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal. It felt very good and rewarding to make a contribution to my community." Sponsor: Lisa Rodgers, Director of Volunteer Resources.
Kisana N., 2nd year member
Project: With Love - Kisana's With Love provided feminine hygiene products to women not able to purchase them because of expenses. Kisana's friends and her mom's coworkers helped her complete the project. Kisana said, "With Love really allowed me to be able to connect with the different women in my community. Doing this service project gave me perspective of what I want to do in the future involving women's health and that is why I want to become a gynecologist." Sponsor: Alicia Marusik, Chemistry Teacher.
Mason S., 1st year member
Project: 101 Letters for Nurses - With the help of his mother, brother, and a family friend, Mason hand-wrote and distributed thank you letters to the nurses of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. The group wrote 101 letters which the family friend, who worked at the Children’s Medical Center, delivered. The nurses at the children’s hospital received the letters on Christmas Eve to brighten their day. Mason said, "It took a while to finish writing all those letters but after we finished and saw the reactions on the nurses’ faces it was all worth it." Sponsor: Thear Suzuki, Mother.
Addison B., 1st year member
Project: Assisting Santa - Addison and seven friends engaged 33 Georgetown High School organizations and, together, provided 54 children with Christmas presents. Addison’s project was coordinated through Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, where her goal was to rally fellow students to provide as many children with Christmas presents as possible. Addison said, "After multiple changes, time constraints, and late nights assisting Santa Claus, I learned how to work together as a team, rely on my amazing team of girls, and most importantly, the value of giving back." Sponsor: Nikki Prosser, Georgette Director.
Ethan G., 3rd year member
Project: Helping The Homeless - Ethan and the Trinity High School swim team collected hygiene items for a local homeless shelter. Ethan exceeded his goal by collecting about 250 items, all of which went to the Arlington Life Shelter to benefit Arlington's homeless population. Ethan said, "Through my project, I learned that sometimes it is okay to depend on others and let them help you." Sponsor: Richard Campanaro, Jr., Coach and Teacher.
Carl Mackey, 1st year member
Project: Easter Cards for Clarewood House Residents - Carl and two friends collected materials and made 60 Easter cards for residents of the Clarewood House Retirement Community in Houston. With the assistance of the activities director, cards were given to residents that typically don't have visitors. Due to COVID, the students could not visit with the residents, but were informed the cards brightened the residents' Easter. Carl said, "I had difficulties since COVID limited interaction with most of my friends; this led me to think outside the box. This project also helped me improve my communications skills." Sponsor: Jordan Payne, Director of Student Ministries, Bellaire United Methodist Church.
Christine R., 4th year member
Project: Calcutta International Service Project - Christine and a fellow NHS officer hosted an international service project with Calcutta International School in Kolkata, India to provide a weekend of art workshops for middle school students interested in the arts. The duo recruited NHS members with different art specialties to volunteer to host workshops with the students. The workshops benefited students in India who were interested in beginning the arts. Christine said, "This project allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills and manage a team to achieve a common goal. We experienced many troubles along the way so I was able to learn how to deal with those efficiently." Sponsor: Amanda Camp, NHS Sponsor.
Jinqiu W., 1st year member
Project: Wings to Recovery - Jinqiu and a friend folded 456 origami cranes to send to Texas Children's Hospital. These cranes helped relay hope and strength for the children staying in the hospital during these difficult times. Jinqiu said, "Through this project, I learned key skills regarding time management and communicating with organizations regarding my project." Sponsor: Wei Wang, Mother.
Kathrine R., 1st year member
Project: Thanksgiving Blessings - Kathrine and two friends provided Thanksgiving meals for four needy families. With the counselor’s help, they identified these families in their community while keeping everyone's name anonymous. The meals helped alleviate stress for these families. Kathrine said, "This project made me realize the true meaning of ThanksGIVING by being able to bless others with what many people take for granted." Sponsor: Bertha Arvizu, Bea’s Cuisine Owner.
Aubriana R., 1st year member
Project: Spreading Christmas Cheer! - Aubriana and two friends spread Christmas cheer by donating Christmas trees to families who didn't have resources to get one. With the help of their school counselor, they identified families in need within their school district they could help. In return, the girls received big smiles that helped them realize that giving is the true meaning of Christmas. Aubriana said, "This experience taught me there are some families that don't get to celebrate Christmas because of their circumstances, and I enjoy seeing the joy on people's faces when I spread Christmas cheer." Sponsor: Bertha Arvizu, Bea's Cuisine Owner.
Kristopher H., 3rd year member
Project: Clean Blanket Drive - Kristopher enlisted the help of his community to collect clean blankets, towels, and sheets. The community exceeded all expectations and donated two trailers full of care items for the rescue dogs and cats of Saving Our Companion Animals of Fort Bend County (SOCA-FBC). The animal foster families received much-needed items to help them care for the rescue dogs and cats. There were even extra care items donated such as toys, animal beds, and treats. Kristopher said, "I encountered unexpected delays and setbacks due to numerous bad weather events and attempting this during COVID restrictions. This experience helped me improve as a leader because I had to become more creative with how I solicited and acquired donations." Sponsor: Marlea Hodgin, Parent.
Liam G., 1st year member
Project: North Texas Pet Drive - Liam recruited a friend from school and they distributed flyers in Liam's neighborhood requesting donations of supplies needed by the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT). He also collected items at school and from friends and family. Altogether, Liam collected 195 pounds of dry dog food, 274 cans of dog and cat food, 34 gallons of cleaning products, and several other items, such as toys, blankets, and towels. HSNT received many items on their current needs list, which allowed them to care better for the pets. Liam said, "This service project helped me grow as a leader and citizen in my community." Sponsor: Gina Lady, Teacher.
Jackson G., 1st year member
Project: Food Drive for "Hunger Doesn't Take a Break" - Jackson and three of his classmates donated two hours of their time to Community Storehouse when they delivered over 900 items that Jackson had collected during his food drive for the organization. They stocked shelves with the items they delivered and packed 18 meal bags and over 60 snack bags. Community Storehouse sent the bags home with children in need to provide them with meals and snacks during spring break. Jackson said, "I was able to help my community while having fun at the same time. And I enjoyed showing my friends how easy it can be to help others." Sponsor: Brooks Hill, Teacher.
Keegan C, 1st year member
Project: Operation Appreciation - Keegan, his PTA president, and his principal worked together to collect gum donations from students for the teachers at Keller Middle School. They collected 168 packs of sugar-free mint gum to give to the teachers as a thank you for working hard and keeping the curriculum superb throughout 2020-2021 school year and the COVID-19 pandemic. Each teacher in the school received a two packs of gum and a handwritten note saying thank you. Keegan said, "I learned an important lesson that taught me to not do things before getting approval." Sponsor: Amanda Burruel, Principal.
Elizabeth B., 2nd year member
Project: Enough Buddies - Elizabeth had more than six people donate and help make 390 Enoughie Buddies benefiting The Kindness Campaign. Elizabeth said, "I loved doing this service project because I know that these headbands are helping a lot of kids. Even though this service project was time-consuming I would totally do it again." Sponsor: Mark England, Pastor.
Ethan C., 2nd year member
Project: Letter from Home for Service Personnel - Ethan enlisted several friends and family members to write 100 cards to servicemen and women serving overseas. This project helped give the soldiers a piece of home while they are so far away. Ethan said, "This project gave me a way to support our military. Gathering friends in the time of COVID was challenging but the leadership lessons learned helped to overcome the issues." Sponsor: Michelle Jordy, Teacher.
Aidan Cox, 9th grader, Cedar Park High School, 3rd year member
Project: A Night at the Theater: Murder Mystery Improv Show - Aidan and thirteen of his theatre arts friends created a two hour murder mystery improv show using Zoom technology. In a year where on-stage performances are limited and many professional actors need assistance, this improv troupe raised over $200 to benefit The Actors’ Fund. In addition, this show offered an opportunity for these students to combine their creativity, acting and tech skills, and increasing knowledge of Zoom. The result was a fantastic, engaging show that left the audience wanting to see this troupe again whether on their computer screen or on the stage. The students, many of whom were performing for an audience for the first time since the pandemic began, remembered the joy theatre brings to their lives and the value it brings to everyone involved. Aidan said, "It took a lot of time and effort on all our parts, but in the end we made something truly impactful. It also helped me appreciate the value of bringing different personalities and strengths together to create something special." Sponsor: Karon Bowers, Parent.
Kleine I., 1st year member
Project: One Scripture at a Time - Kleine knew she wanted her project to be Bible-based, so she found her favorite Bible lesson which is 'give to not expect to receive'. She also knew she wanted to make a donation to an Arlington homeless shelter. After saving up $200 from doing chores, Kleine went with her mom to Sam’s Club and purchased tissues, paper towels, canned goods, and snacks. She chose the Arlington Life Shelter to receive her donations. The most special part of this experience was raising her own money for the purchase of donations. Kleine said, "This experience helped me grow, not only as a leader, but as a human being as well. I now truly know not to take things for granted, and to not judge people by the things they do or do not have, but by the way they treat people and the world." Sponsor: Berthine Inagabire, Parent.
Lily T., 4th year member
Project: Giving to Grace Campus - Lily and her friends helped Grace Campus celebrate the holidays this past year by writing Christmas cards and baking Valentine's Day desserts for the residents. The group shared holiday spirit with the recipients during a difficult time for them by making and delivering the cards and desserts. Lily said, "It was difficult to organize our event during the Valentine's Day weekend due to uncertainty concerning the coming snowstorm, but we figured it out and made it work in time! It felt nice to help spread some holiday cheer to those who are struggling. I also learned how to lead through unforeseen circumstances." Sponsor: Kevin Tran, Father.
Hollie S., 1st year member
Project: Mile in Their Shoes - Hollie and three classmates collected new and gently used shoes for Shoes for Orphan Souls. The group collected 100 pairs of shoes and 50 pairs of socks through various drives. Every student learned how lucky they were to have shoes on their feet each day. Hollie said, "I learned how to manage hosting several different events at once and how to smooth over any issues that arose." Sponsor: Becky Robertson, Executive Director, Lubbock Impact.
Graham H., 2nd year member
Project: Christmas is for Giving - Graham and a team of friends and family collected toys for children in the Maud community. Approximately 50 toys and five bikes were donated to this great cause. The toys put smiles on many faces during the holiday season. Graham said, "I learned that when we come together and give, everyone benefits. Our hearts grew three sizes that day." Sponsor: Kayla Harrell, School Counselor.
Emilie J., 5th year member
Project: Mustangs Uniting Students Tolerating Axioms Nationalities Genders and Sexualities - Emilie collaborated with nine peers and her high school’s Communities in Schools counselor to gauge the need/want for a student-led, licensed counselor-guided, safe space group for their campus. She and the counselor met with the principal to discuss the logistics necessary to start the new club. The MUSTANGS student group served students’ mental health and emotional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emilie said, "I learned that the willingness to take the risk of being told 'No' is essential when spearheading a potentially controversial topic. Resilience and the ability to persevere despite many complications (remote classes, capacity mandates, social distancing, etc.), was the leadership skill that was most nurtured while I worked on securing permission to create a safe space for students in crisis." Sponsor: Vanessa Garcia, Counselor, Communities in Schools of South Central Texas.
North East ISD
Griffin O., 3rd year member
Project: COVID Feral Cat Relief - Griffin coordinated with many neighbors to provide supplies to the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition. He collected more than $100 in cash donations, more than a dozen cans of cat food, and several other assorted items. This effort assisted the SAFCC during the Coronavirus pandemic which strained its ability to operate. Griffin said, "This project was much more difficult than prior projects I've done because there were many unexpected events that occurred, like somebody stealing our donation bins. I think that challenges like that reinforce my ability to lead; after all, resiliency in the face of change is one of the most valuable leadership skills." Sponsor: Germaine Oliver, SAFCC Volunteer.
Vidhubala V., 1st year member
Project: Canned Food Drive - Vidhubala and her mom held a food drive. They collected five cardboard boxes full of canned food and donated it to Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors. The project benefitted people in her community that couldn’t get, or afford to pay for, food at the time. Vidhubala learned a lot about her community and loved helping others through this experience. Vidhubala said, "This experience helped me take responsibility for what I do. Although my mom helped me, she let me do everything and just helped with the transport of items. I even created and distributed flyers to make sure a lot of people donated canned food for this drive. It makes me feel satisfied to help others in need and helped me be a better person in general." Sponsor: Hamsa Ramaswamy, Mother and Teacher.
Sarah H., 1st year member
Project: Earphones for Skyline - Sarah, her mother, and her friend's mom collected 135 sets of earphones for the special education students of Skyline High School. The project helped the students learn better because, during COVID, the school provides computers for Zoom but not earphones. Prior to receiving the donated earphones from Sarah, the teacher was paying for earphones out of her own pocket. Sarah said, "This project helped me improve as a leader because it helped me recognize problems that I can change by just stepping up." Sponsor: Caroline Gichangi, Teacher.
Round Rock ISD
Yeva T., 1st year member
Project: Encouraging Students - Yeva and two of her fellow students in leadership positions helped raise morale at Purple Sage Elementary. They used chalk to lift the spirits of hundreds of students and teachers on their way to school after Thanksgiving break. In addition to writing encouraging words, they also chalked things to help students stay safe during this time like, 'Wear a mask!'. Yeva said, "I figured out having connections and good communication is very important, because none of this would have been possible without the help of the connections I've made." Sponsor: Sara Nelson, Principal.
Round Rock ISD
Annalise B., 3rd year member
Project: Cleaning Up the Greenbelt - Annalise noticed that there was a lot of graffiti on a hiking trail near her neighborhood. She wanted to do something about it, so she recruited three of her friends to help her. They helped scrub away a lot of graffiti on the trail. Annalise said, "I learned if you want to help people you can start small with your neighborhood and even that can have a big impact." Sponsor: Stefanie Breyer, Mother.
Gracie G., 1st year member
Project: Giving with Grace - Gracie conducted a food drive in her community with the help of her sister. They collected 645 food items and $100. The food drive benefitted the Sanger ISD Backpack Program, which sends food home in students' backpacks for the students and their families to eat over the weekend. Gracie said, "My service project helped me take action to help the people in my community that need food. By getting my town to work together and gather donations, I improved enormously as a leader." Sponsor: Amy Giddens, Teacher.
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD
Andrew S., 1st year member
Project: No Dog Can Stand Alone! - Andrew enlisted th help of his friends and brother to post awareness posters and hand-deliver 47 letters about homeless animals, the importance of pet adoption, and items needed for the foster animals at ARF-Texas. Together, they collected 77 pounds of dog and cat food, four cans of dog food, 50 training pads, four packages of dog treats, towels, blankets, food/water bowl sets, a kennel cover, collars, harnesses, leashes, and toys for ARF-Texas to use for their foster dogs and cats while they wait to find a forever home. Despite the many challenges encountered due to COVID-19, the students were ecstatic to see a sense of community and generosity and kindness from others through the amount of donations received during such a difficult time. Andrew said, "I made many memories doing this service project. It made me feel good to help ARF-Texas and spread awareness to others. Getting to see such a positive impact through my service project will encourage me in the future when I face other challenges or difficulties." Sponsor: Ashlyn Adams, Treasurer/Board Member.
Alec L., 1st year member
Project: Stephenville ISD Necessities Drive - Alec collected clothing and other items for students who go to the school nurse for necessities. He made a Google slide requesting donations that he posted to Facebook. The donations were sorted and sent to the schools in his district for distribution via the nurses at each school. Alec said, "I hit a few roadblocks along the way, but by pushing past and through them, I gained knowledge on how to manage more stressful things." Sponsor: Alicia Walton, Counselor.
Harrison D., 1st year member
Project: Letters of Joy - Harrison and two friends worked together to write 100 get well soon notes for patients at the Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital. This project brought joy to the patients while they were in the hospital. Harrison said, "Along the way I encountered several setbacks, but I persevered and eventually completed my project. This project taught me to persevere no matter how difficult the circumstances." Sponsor: Madelyne Lee, Teacher.
Zane Hairell, 11th grader, Yoakum High School, 1st year member
Project: RISE Landscaping Project - Zane and a team of 13 community volunteers installed landscaping around the DeWitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative (DLSEC) RISE Elementary program's new inclusive playground at Yoakum Intermediate School. The RISE Elementary program serves students with special needs from nine area school districts. All 100+ plants installed will delight the senses of the students and are safe for students to touch and smell. The landscaping includes areas that are accessible for all students including those in wheelchairs. Zane received donations from Jonathan and Shelley Jansky (Jansky Sand & Gravel), Turtle Wing Foundation, Katie Steffek/Jo’s Green Hut and Nursery (in honor of student B.S.), Handy Stop Nursery, Jimmy and Michelle Goodson, Gary and Kelly Kersten (in honor of student Z.R.), Walt and Meredith Hairell, Brook Tarves, and Jessica Fasig. The RISE students will now take over the daily care for the plants as they learn about the plants and what they need. Zane said, "I planned this project with the administrators from DLSEC and researched what plants would be safe for the students, even if they were to ingest a piece of a plant. Through this experience, I developed research skills, community engagement skills, and skills to help me reach out to organizations and individuals for assistance. Everything I learned will be beneficial as I transition from high school to college and to my career." Sponsor: Meredith Hairell, Director of Operations.
Shruti S., 1st year member
Project: Dog Toys for the Shelter - Shruti and ten of her classmates created 30+ homemade dog toys out of old t-shirts to donate to the local Humane Society. This project served to not only utilize and recycle old clothing that may have been thrown away, but also to provided sheltered dogs with toys they could enjoy. Shruti said, "I learned how to lead a team towards a goal that we all wanted to accomplish and helped others rise as leaders as well. We all worked together to give back to the community." Sponsor: Dawn Wood, Lion's Heart Volunteer Manager.
Elizabeth J., 1st year member
Project: Lunch Sacks for Kids' Meals - Elizabeth and four members of her Girl Scout troop used troop funds to purchase 100 brown lunch sacks and approved items from the Kids Meals, Inc. lunch sack list. The group decorated the sacks and filled them with the items on Valentine's Day. Delivery was delayed due to winter storm Uri, but everything was delivered in time for the first post-storm delivery. Elizabeth said, "This experience reminded me of how we can help others through tough times." Sponsor: Anna Charlton, Girl Scout Troop Leader.
Andrew W., 1st year member
Project: Your Future: Awareness Makes a Difference - To get his project started, Andrew researched different careers. Andrew then found people involved in those careers that he could interview for a podcast. After editing and completing the interviews, Andrew shared his videos with groups that could benefit from becoming aware of career opportunities; he partnered with community organizations that would share his videos with teenagers including Dress for Success, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Zeta Phi Beta. Andrew said, "It was a challenge to produce a podcast. We had technical and creative difficulties but, through the process, I learned about persevering to make a difference." Sponsor: Thomas Brandt, Boy Scout Troop Leader.
Aiken M., 1st year member
Project: Towels for Animals in Need - Aiken recruited his friend to create and distribute flyers to raise awareness about, and request donations of towels for, the Houston SPCA animal shelter. In total they collected 106 towels, the number one item the organization needs to help the animals at the shelter. Aiken said, "This project presented me with the opportunity to learn leadership skills, apply them to a meaningful cause, and help make a difference." Sponsor: Karan Madan, Physician.
Megal A., 2nd year member
Project: Holiday Care Packages - Megal recruited several family members to make 26 care packages for residents at Hospice Austin's Christopher House and Aspen Hospice and Palliative Care in South Austin. The residents each received a holiday-themed care package which spread holiday cheer throughout both hospice centers. The patients were extremely touched, and Megal plans to continue volunteering with similar organizations. Megal said, "By organizing this project, I was able to not only bring holiday cheer to senior residents, but to also reach out and offer some support during these hard times." Sponsor: Rebecca Gibbs, Upper School Math Teacher.
Sonal A., 2nd year member
Project: STEM Club at Title 1 Middle School - Sonal enlisted the members of her Social Justice in Science Club to establish a science club at a Title 1 middle school. Sonal and her fellow volunteers assembled and delivered experiment kits, designed the curriculum and presentations, and mentored the students during the Zoom meetings. In addition to conducting fun experiments, the middle school students received science enrichment opportunities they may not have had access to before. By establishing a science club, the middle schoolers were able to open students' eyes to a world of STEM. Sonal said, "I was able to further develop my leadership skills such as problem-solving, perseverance, responsibility, and communication by working with my team and pushing through setbacks. Using my passion to help others is an amazing feeling." Sponsor: Danielle Horton, Teacher.
Hannah M., 4th year member
Project: Food Drive for Longview Community Ministries - Hannah recruited a friend to help her collect more than 300 food items for the Longview Community Ministries Food Bank. The duo received donations from friends and members of their church, First Presbyterian Church of Longview, to benefit Longview Community Ministries, a local organization that packages bags and boxes of food for distribution to clients in need. Hannah said, "I enjoyed leading my friends and family to help those in need in the form of donations to the Longview Community Ministries food bank." Sponsor: Karen Morris, Mother.