Alumni Council Members' Service Projects
Sixty-two outstanding students from across Texas completed the 2021-2022 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council program. Members represented 38 school districts, four private schools, three charter schools, and one home 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!
Freya D., 1st year member
Project: Aledo Christmas Clean-Up - Freya, with the help of a friend and her family, collected four garbage bags of trash. They picked up things like bottles, bags, and cans off the side of the road to help with the environment's wellbeing. Freya said, "I learned that doing something beneficial for the environment encourages others to also do so." Sponsor: Robin Newkirk, Teacher.
Makenzie T., 2nd year member
Project: Tutoring 101 - Makenzie and her brother provided tutoring at their local community center. They helped elementary school students with their math and English homework at The Forge for Families. The students received one-on-one assistance with subjects they needed extra help with and Makenzie and her brother were able to give back to their community. Makenzie said, "I was able to my develop mentoring skills through offering support and guidance." Sponsor: Bridget Thomas, Youth Director.
Timothy J., 4th year member
Project: Hospice Help and Serve - Timothy and several of his peers gathered various much needed donations from the community to benefit the Baylor Scott and White Hospice Center in Temple. The students also served at the center and learned how to work together and the center received much needed donations. Timothy said, "I learned to serve in a capacity that I haven't experienced before and it made me a more effective leader." Sponsor: Jim Hinton, Director, Baylor Scott and White.
Big Sandy ISD
Daphnie B., 3rd year member
Project: Thanksgiving Food Drive - Daphnie enlisted her varsity cheer squad to help collect items for Thanksgiving Dinner Boxes. The group collected over 200 items. The food drive benefitted the Love Big Sandy Project and residents of Big Sandy that were in need of a Thanksgiving meal. Daphnie said, "I enjoyed working with my team to help our community. It felt good to help those in need." Sponsor: Summer McCartney, Varsity Cheer Sponsor.
Avery S., 1st year member
Project: Bears for a Purpose - Avery and her friend developed guidelines on bears that could be donated to Cook Children's Hospital. These guidelines were provided by a chaplain within the Spiritual Care Department of Cook Children's Hospital to be sure the bears were safe to give to patients with compromised immune systems. Avery and her friend, with the assistance of Avery's teacher, principal, and assistant principal, communicated these guidelines to the students of her school. As a result, 44 bears were donated and delivered to Cook Children's Hospital's Spiritual Care Department to provide comfort to the young patients. Avery said, "There will always be problems along the way, but if it's something you really want, those problems will be nothing." Sponsor: Rebecca Berthold, Teacher.
Amber F., 2nd year member
Project: Holiday Cards for our Nation's Heroes - Amber, with the help of her fellow Red Cross Club officers and members, made handmade holiday cards for local veterans and service members. Over the course of only four days, they made over 130 cards. The cards were mailed to their local Red Cross headquarters in San Antonio and were distributed to locally-based service members during the holiday season. Amber said, "My service project was both fun and engaging for all members involved. I learned how to rely on, and trust in, a large group effort to accomplish a goal. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the turnout and feel very gratified to be able to give back to those who go above and beyond to serve our nation and community." Sponsor: Jenny Breuer, Red Cross Club Sponsor.
Sarai G., 1st year member
Project: Photos with Santa – Sarai's service project this year consisted of photos with Santa and the Grinch and letters to Santa for PreK-3rd grade students. Sarai recruited six high school students who helped make a back drop for the photos and assisted the students with writing letters to Santa and keeping order during the photos. Sarai said, "The faces and expressions of the younger students as they met with Santa and the Grinch proved that though there might have been many other projects to choose from, none would have compared to the joy and hope the children felt that day. This project helped me realize that I was able to communicate and provide instruction without the fear of failure. Having confidence in myself is the key I need to open any shut door!" Sponsor: Lindsay Whit, Administrative Secretary.
Madeline B., 8th grader, Carroll Middle School, 1st year member
Project: EmpowerBeadzByMaddie - Madeline enlisted NJHS students to make over 100 bracelets made with natural stone beads and positive word charms. The bracelets benefited Oncology and Dialysis unit at Children’s Hospital. The bracelets brought joy to the children who were hospitalized over Christmas. Madeline said, "I learned that it’s okay to ask for help when I needed it the most. I asked the NJHS students to help me make this project successful." Sponsor: Audrey Baek, Mother.
Clear Creek ISD
Logan M., 1st year member
Project: Books from Kids for Kids - Logan and two friends organized a book drive at their school. They collected 3,624 books (36 boxes) for Books Between Kids, a non-profit organization that provides Houston’s at-risk children with books to build their own home libraries. Logan said, "I learned how to persevere to reach my goal." Sponsor: Julie Sorenson, Teacher.
Clear Creek ISD
James G., 1st year member
Project: Holiday Book Drive - James and four of his baseball teammates held a holiday book drive to collect over 400 books for kids with hearing disabilities at the Texas Hearing Institute. The project helped kids with hearing disabilities have easy access to books which would help them learn in their own unique way. James said, "Reflecting on myself made me realize that not all disabilities are negatives, and can be made into something beneficial for others." Sponsor: Jaime Gonzalez, Father.
Kenzie W., 4th year member
Project: Little Library Love - Kenzie and six of her fellow The Little Things club members worked together to build a little library in West Columbia and gather books to stock it. The students collected 52 books of numerous genres, making books more accessible for the children and adults of West Columbia. Kenzie said, "I loved working on a project that I'm passionate about, and it has increased my confidence and my ability to listen to others' needs." Sponsor: Candace Clifton, Church Leader.
Kamilah O., 1st year member
Project: The Road to New Beginnings - Kamilah and her friend collected about 90 boxes/bags of clothing, furniture, household items, food, equipment, toys, and other things to give to the women and children at the Montgomery County Women's Shelter. Kamilah said, "We began to understand the importance of giving back to others in community and how big of an impact it can have on others' lives." Sponsor: Stephanie Graham, Teacher.
Karen B.R., 4th year member
Project: Holidays in the Hospital - Karen and a few friends put together 150 art projects which included crayons and coloring pages. They donated this, along with 50 boxes of crayons, to Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Karen said, "Nothing feels better than putting a smile on someone’s face." Sponsor: Nicole Barrett, Teacher.
Katya B.R., 4th year member
Project: Spreading Holiday Cheer! - Katya enlisted the help of her Spanish and DC physics classes to make 50 cards for the children at the Texas Children’s Hospital. She also raised money with friends after school to buy 75 books to donate to the hospital. Katya said, "There are certain guidelines that must be followed when making cards for the hospital. It was my responsibility as leader of this project to make sure everyone knew what the guidelines were and stayed within them." Sponsor: Nichole Barrett, Teacher.
Brandon B., 4th year member
Project: Wi-Fi for Wildcats - Brandon recruited everyone around him to help raise money for high school students who cannot afford Wi-Fi at their homes. The students need hotspots to work on homework and during the pandemic, they were free. After the pandemic, the school needed to charge ten dollars a month. Brandon raised money so several students would not have to worry about providing money to pay for the hotspots. This gave them the ability to complete homework after school. Brandon said, "I should not have taken for granted that I have Wi-Fi in my home, but I did. This project opened my eyes that this is a real need at our school. I did something small that created a big impact for the students at my school." Sponsor: Lori Morris, School Counselor.
Bri B., 4th year member
Project: Keeping Students Warm - Bri and two friends worked together with Guyer High School to collect 20+ sweaters and hoodies for fellow students in need to help them have warm clothes during the winter. Bri said, "This project has made me appreciate what I have and how I am able to help the community around me." Sponsor: Lori Morris, School Counselor.
Dripping Springs ISD
Natalee S., 2nd year member
Project: Diaper Drive - Natalee Scholl and her friend worked together to collect diaper donations in their neighborhood for the Austin Diaper Bank to help families in need. Natalee said, "This experience helped me as a leader; I gained experience leading a service project using leadership skills I learned at camps and in the lessons." Sponsor: Angela Gamez, Principal.
Dripping Springs ISD
Ryder T., 1st year member
Project: Cents for Swimmers - Ryder Trent and two friends raised money for their local YMCA using a GoFundMe page. The funds raised went towards new equipment and a financial aid fund, which helps those who cannot afford swim lessons. Over $2,000 was raised! Ryder said, "This has helped me to feel a part of something special" Sponsor: Andrea McCarthy, Coach.
Vaibhavi A., 1st year member
Project: Book Buddies - Vaibhavi and seven other high school students went to two local elementary schools to read to second graders in both Spanish and English. They read holiday-themed books for the first event, held during the holiday season, and Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day-themed books for the second, which was held in February. Vaibhavi said, "I learned how to work better with my peers." Sponsor: Fred Benitez, Director of Educational Technology.
Ector County ISD
Mia S., 5th year member
Project: Soar, Succeed, and Accomplish - Mia, with the help of her cousin, younger brother and Lucky's Septic Service put together 20 Thanksgiving dinner boxes which included boxed and canned goods and a frozen turkey. With the help of her school counselors, the dinners were donated to families of ECISD students that would otherwise go without a hot Thanksgiving meal. Additionally, Mia volunteered her time to tutor students in various subjects. Mia said, "With the help of others, I was able to apply my leadership skills and succeed in accomplishing my goal of helping ECISD students/families in need. I feel a great sense of fulfillment being able to help my community members." Sponsor: Luis Nieto, CEO.
El Paso ISD
Katherine K., 4th year member
Project: Supporting El Pasoans Fighting Hunger - Katie, supported by several of her peers, expanded on her 2020-2021 service project “Supporting El Pasoans Fighting Hunger” in which the goal of 1,400 meals donated was doubled to 2,800 meals donated. This year's goal was to meet or exceed 2,800 meals donated and the project exceeded the goal by 30% more than the previous year with 3,640 meals donated benefiting the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank. Katherine said, "I was able to learn from the challenges of completing a virtual service project last year to enhance the accessibility and marketing of this year's service project. This helped improve the success of this year's project in order to make a larger impact for the community." Sponsor: Maggie Ensley, Teacher/Coach.
Fort Bend ISD
Ethan L., 5th year member
Project: Park Pick-Up - Ethan recruited a small group of friends to pick up trash around Lake Somerville State Park's lake. After realizing his project would be better if it were ongoing, Ethan decided to organize routine park cleanups and recruit new crewmates whenever he can. By making his project an ongoing group, he continues to make a positive impact on the environment, and make community service a way of life rather than a one-off event. Ethan said, "By organizing this cleanup group, I learned how to find like-minded individuals, as well as how to set timelines that the group could commit to. If everyone contributes to making a positive difference for the environment, it will have a huge impact on our society." Sponsor: Cecilia Lee, Former Teacher
Fort Bend ISD
Alexis F., 1st year member
Project: Possibilities for Pets - Alexis recruited ha friend to help collect two dog beds, two bags of dog treats, 33 towels, one dog toy, one bag of cat treats, two bags of dog food, one pet crate, and $200 for Sugar Land Animal Services to take care of the animals. Sugar Land Animal Services now has enough supplies to take care of the animals that are in their facility. Alexis said, "It was difficult at first, but the more I did along the way, the more confident I became." Sponsor: Sandi Brunello, Religious Education Teacher.
Fort Bend ISD
Tyler L., 1st year member
Project: Give a Book, Change a Life - Tyler and his older sister Charlize collected more than 1,000 books from their schools and church. They organized the books and donated them to a local homeless shelter and Afghanistan refugees' apartments. Give a book, Change a Life benefits both groups by helping them experience the world of imagination while learning some English one the side. Tyler said, "Even though I was collecting books little by little, I eventually got over a 1,000 books because of my hard work." Sponsor: Jam Lopez, Educational Diagnostician.
Fort Bend ISD
Charlize L., 5th year member
Project: Share Warmth, One Coat at a Time - Charlize, her family, and a friend's family teamed up to collect essential items including baby care items, coats, jackets, toiletries, bedding, household items, kitchenware, and toys. They went to an apartment complex that was housing Afghan refugees and, with the help of a translator, helped the families pick out items the needed. Following their multiple weekend visits, they distributed clothing and food to the homeless community in Tent City, Star of Hope - a rehabilitation housing center for homeless individuals, and Fort Bend Women's Center. In total, they donated 627 articles of clothing and over 500 household items and necessities. Charlize said, "Although my service project was originally dedicated to one community (the homeless community), I found that I could expand my project to help other communities in need, like the Afghan refugees and women and children from previous domestic violence cases. Why touch only one heart, when you have enough hands to touch multiple?" Sponsor: Jam Lopez, Educational Diagnostician.
Fort Bend ISD
Lana N., 1st year member
Project: Books4Good - Lana led a book drive at her school called Books4Good and as National Junior Honor Society President, she enlisted her NJHS Class to help sort and count the books. They collected a total of 473 gently used picture books, elementary chapter books, and middle grade novels to benefit school libraries in need. The picture books and elementary chapter books were donated to Quail Valley Elementary, and the middle grade novels were donated to Quail Valley Middle School. Lana said, "This experience has helped me to be more assertive and express myself clearly. As a leader, this experience has also taught me how to delegate tasks amongst a large group." Sponsor: Shannon Brumley, NJHS Sponsor.
Fort Bend ISD
Reena D., 4th year member
Project: Reach Out and Read Book Drive - Reena and her friend collected 332 books from their school for the Reach Out and Read Program, which provides children with books to read at home. This donation helped over 300 underprivileged young children have a book to read in their free time. Reena said, "I learned the value of small things like books. I realized that just one book can brighten a kid's day." Sponsor: Omosede Evbuomwan, Doctor.
Fort Bend ISD
Rohan D., 3rd year member
Project: Winter STEM Courses for Children's Hospitals - Rohan and four friends hosted STEM courses online in the areas of Beginner Java, Anatomy, Contest Math, and Game Development to 15 students from the Greater Houston area. They taught each ten-hour course over five days during Winter Break of 2021, and they raised over $500. This money was used to purchase STEM kits for long-term Nexus Children's Hospital patients and introduce them to the STEM field by learning to build robots. Rohan said, "I felt successful in being able to develop as a leader and enjoyed the experience while providing valuable skills from a growing field to both the students and patients that benefited." Sponsor: Rajiv Mehta, Robotics Coach.
Sansdhitha A., 5th year member
Project: Staying Active for a Better Tomorrow - As a part of her local HOSA team, Sansdhitha partnered with one of her classmates to raise awareness on the complications that Type 2 diabetes can have on America's youth. She made posters and placed them around the school and developed a website in which she promoted healthy eating and exercise habits, and raised awareness in her community on these detrimental consequences of such a preventable disease. Sansdhitha said, "I learned how to effectively communicate with my peers and those around me, and advocate with staff members in my school about my cause!" Sponsor: Brittany Aguayo, Teacher.
Samuel G., 1st year member
Project: Park Clean-Up - Samuel and three neighborhood friends went to a local park to pick up trash. Samuel and his friends picked up three bags of trash to make the park a cleaner and healthier environment for people to play. Samuel said, "It was gross, but I know that my leadership skills have grown, and so has my appreciation for nature." Sponsor: Kristie Garrett, Elementary School Assistant Principal.
Paisley L., 1st year member
Project: Kits for Kids - Paisley enlisted the help of her Henderson First United Methodist Church Youth Group to raise funds to benefit children being served through the Department of Family Protective Services. The amount raised totaled over $1,800, and was used to purchase of over 10,200 diapers, 60 packages of baby wipes, and other needed supplies. The supplies were donated to the Henderson Rainbow Room, located at Child Protective Services, and will support the organization's diaper needs for at least six months. Paisley said, "I learned how to adjust my plans in order to support the changing needs of my community. I am proud of my project results and the contribution made." Sponsor: Josh Wardle, Youth Director.
Jinqiu W., 2nd year member
Project: Love Letters to Classmates - Jinqiu recruited 10 friends to write nice notes to students at Bellaire High School the week before Valentine's Day. The group spent around one hour to write over 85 notes to give to students on Valentine's Day. The notes included encouraging messages and nice compliments, such as "you look great today!" Jinqiu said, "I loved giving out the notes to other students in the halls. It felt good seeing their smiles and being able to make their day a little better." Sponsor: Wei Wang, Mother.
Cindy T., 1st year member
Project: Fortune Food - Cindy and her classmates collected over 200 packaged food items from around their neighborhood. They boxed and packed the food and donated it to the Houston Food Bank. They were able to give back to their community by giving food to those who couldn't afford it themselves. Cindy said, "I learned how to work in a team and was able to give back to my community." Sponsor: Ryah Barazi, English Teacher.
Ethan G., 4th year member
Project: Hygiene for the Homeless – Ethan recruited the Trinity High School swim team and a Camp Gladiator group to collect hygiene items for the homeless. In total they collected 686 items and donated them to the Arlington Life Shelter. Ethan said, "This experience enabled me to improve as a leader by helping me grasp how important good relationships are and how they can have an effect on you." Sponsor: Richard Campanaro, Coach/Teacher.
Aubriana R., 2nd year member
Project: Giving Thanks to Healthcare Workers - Aubriana and a few of her friends gave healthcare workers goodie baskets to show their appreciation for all they do during these hard times. They went to two local hospitals, Citizens and Detar, and they shared their goodies baskets, which contained many different snacks, with the staff members. Aubriana said, "We enhanced our public speaking abilities by communicating with all of the healthcare workers." Sponsor: Emma Ramirez, Parent.
Kathrine R., 2nd year member
Project: Helping Hands - Kathrine, along with two others, created 100 bags filled with personal care items and necessities to give to the less fortunate. These bags were given out to people we knew were in need during the Christmas holiday to spread holiday cheer. Kathrine said, "My team and I worked together to spread holiday cheer. This experience opened my eyes, humbled me, and helped me to grow as a person." Sponsor: Emma Ramirez, Parent.
Kristopher H., 4th year member
Project: Warm Blanket Drive - Kristopher enlisted the help of friends and the internet to collect over two truckloads of blankets, towels, pillow cases, and other items for dogs at Saving Our Companion Animals - Fort Bend County. The donations helped the organization keep the dogs warm during the winter and provided support for an influx of puppies rescued. Kristopher said, "The people you meet along the way are just as important as why you are doing it." Sponsor: Marlea Hodgin, Teacher.
Kaila P., 1st year member
Project: Colors of Kindness - Kaila and many of her friends from school utilized their creative abilities to design and tie-dye t-shirts to be donated to Bethany House Sto. Niño Orphanage in Guiguinto, Philippines. With the help of her parents and family in the Philippines, Kaila was able to donate nearly 60 shirts to the children of the orphanage and give back to the community of her heritage. Kaila said, "Planning this project wasn't easy as school and other engagements made it difficult to make time, however I have grown an extreme appreciation for those that supported me along the way. Through this experience, I have been able to further develop my time management, responsibility, and communication skills as well learn more about my Filipino roots and community." Sponsor: MariaCarmen Pierson, Mother.
Samantha B., 1st year member
Project: Bags of Happiness - Samantha and her friend made over 100 hand-made cards for the senior citizens at Watermere. They incorporated the cards into goody bags with a piece of candy and gave them to the residents after the holiday season to brighten their day. Samantha said, "Though the work got long at times, I learned how to persevere through it. Seeing all those smiles truly made it worth it." Sponsor: Aimee Andrews, Counselor.
Ethan F., 1st year member
Project: The Guadalupe River Trail Trash Round-Up - Ethan and three of his friends cleaned up 50 pounds of trash along the Guadelupe River. The group helped many animals to not die from the harmful trash that had been carelessly littered, and helped improve the experience of the many people that enjoy walking the trail. Ethan said, "I had many struggles when it came to getting my team together, but when we worked together, we became an unstoppable force of teamwork." Sponsor: Katherine Dalglish, Teacher.
Elizabeth B., 3rd year member
Project: Blessing Bags - Elizabeth and the Klein Collins FFA members collected enough food, hygiene, socks, and hand sanitizer to fill 40 bags which they assembled to be distributed to homeless students. Elizabeth said, "I worked with the head of the service committee which made me a stronger leader. I had to keep up with his schedule and mine." Sponsor: Heather Davis, Teacher.
Ethan C., 3rd year member
Project: Letters from Home - Ethan enlisted the help of friends from school, including National Junior Honor Society, and close family to write almost 100 cards to active military members in Kuwait with the goal of providing motivation when they feel homesick. The cards and letters provided the service men and women a piece of home, let them know they are prayed for and not forgotten, and that our gratitude is with them. Ethan said, "Recruiting my friends to help me achieve this project helped me learn more about leadership skills necessary to help make a small difference in the world." Sponsor: Michelle Jordy, Texas History Teacher.
Sophia D., 1st year member
Project: Arbor Creek Book Drive - Sophia and her school's book club hosted a book drive to collect books of various genres for all ages. The group collected a total of 12 boxes of books and donated them to Metrocrest Services. The donations helped those who lack access to a library and gave them a wide range of stories waiting to be read. Sophia said, "This project taught me that having a plan is key to accomplishing your goals." Sponsor: Jennifer Wilson, School Librarian.
Lily T., 5th year member
Project: Give Back Thanks - Lily, as Service Project Coordinator, led the National Honor Society of her high school in writing and collecting over 50 letters for hospital workers and first responders. The letters were distributed to the two main hospitals in Lubbock, as well as to EMTs. The students were able to show the first responders and hospital workers of the community their appreciation. Lily said, "I started with a completely different service project in mind, but after experiencing the impact of healthcare workers personally, I realized leading a project based on personal experiences allows for the most passionate projects." Sponsor: Lily Tran, Father.
Nora W., 1st year member
Project: New Year's For Newborns - Nora and several of her classmates helped collect items for mothers in need. In total they collected 13 cars seats, 2,035 diapers, and 17 board books for Loving Choice Pregnancy Center. The 13 car seats will help Loving Choice give 13 mothers a way to safely bring their babies home from the hospital. Nora said, "I learned how to talk to others more confidently while asking members of my church to donate to Loving Choice." Sponsor: Michele Woytek, Mother.
Graham H., 3rd year member
Project: Maud Can! - Graham and a team of friends and family collected 1,500 canned food items for the Maud community. Graham said, "During these hard times, I feel it is so important to help those in need. I hope, by the donations collected, that no one goes hungry." Sponsor: Kayla Harrell, School Counselor.
Pleasant Grove ISD
Tucker K., 1st year member
Project: Amtrak Beautification Effort: All Aboard – Tucker loves trains and joined forces with Texarkana's Main Street and the Texarkana Leadership program through the local Chamber of Commerce. Tucker and the Leadership Texarkana team have created plans to improve the station with signage, lighting, landscaping, and more with Tucker creating social media posts, a video, and other digital content to draw attention to their project throughout the community. The team expects to positively showcase Texarkana to the more than 3,135 Amtrak travelers who embark and thousands more who travel the Texas Eagle route. The project is ongoing and Keeney plans to continue to help when needed. Tucker said, "Working on the Amtrak project helped me connect with my new community, learn from local leaders, put my skills into practice, and make a positive difference. I am grateful for Education in Action for helping me have a roadmap on how to serve my community and to Leadership Texarkana for welcoming me and allowing me to be part of their team." Sponsor: Amanda Keeney, Parent.
Reese C., 1st year member
Project: The Arms of Hope Diaper Drive - Reese and six friends collected diapers to donate to The Arms Of Hope-Boles Home Campus. With a goal of 5,000, the group collected 7,850 diapers which were donated to the organization for children and parents in need and at the daycare. Reese said, "Building up the courage to put me out there was difficult for me, but it felt amazing to see all the people smile from what I did to help the community." Sponsor: Sean Callahan, President of The Quinlan ISD Alumni Association.
Surak D. S., 1st year member
Project: Holiday Toy Drive 2021 - Devin supported the Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) with a holiday toy drive. The donated toys were given to children who came into protective care and received assistance from CPD to help ensure they were not forgotten during the holiday season. Surak Devin said, "I learned that there are less fortunate children that are not treated correctly. I learned how to be more empathetic and thankful for what I have." Sponsor: Janice Srivathanakul, Parent.
Round Rock ISD
Annalise B., 4th year member
Project: Playtime for Pups - Annalise and three of her friends made over 20 dog toys out of old t-shirts to donate to the Austin Animal Center. In addition to the the animals benefiting from the toys, they also upcycled many t-shirts that would have been thrown away. Annalise said, "I learned that to make a big impact in your community, you can start with something as simple as your own dresser." Sponsor: Stefanie Breyer, Mother.
Round Rock ISD
Yeva Tcharikova, 10th grader, Westwood High School, 2nd year member
Project: Collecting Kindness - Yeva and two of her friends held a food drive at their school to collect non-perishable goods including dry pasta and canned food. They collected over $200 worth of canned goods and another $100 in dried pasta which they donated to the Central Texas Food bank to benefit local families in need. Yeva said, "I have gained a bigger perspective on how well communication works if you're willing to ask the right people for help. Leaders should be reasonable and easy to work with and I feel like I got a lot of experience with that." Sponsor: Jennifer Tcharikova, Manager.
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.
Ashli N.V., 3rd year member
Project: ♡COMFORT ME♡ blanket drive – Ashli, with the help of her high school's Student Council club, collected 100 blankets which she donated to the Aurora House in Weslaco, a facility that houses residents in hospice care. The blankets were given to the residents over the Christmas holidays. Ashli Nicole said, "The experience I gain each year with my blanket drive helps me advocate for those in need in my community. With the pandemic circulating for the last two years, it gives me joy to know I have been able to put a smile on the faces of those in my community that benefit from my annual donation drive." Sponsor: Andrea Martinez, Student Council Sponsor.
Sarit Q., 1st year member
Project: Rags to Riches - Sarit invited people in her community to donate new and gently used clothes for the Haven for Hope, an organization that helps struggling families create a new start in their lives. This project has helped families have a fresh wardrobe to feel confident throughout their day. Sarit said, "I had a wonderful time collecting clothes and helping families in my community. I have learned much better time management as I am used to procrastination." Sponsor: Patricia Quiroz, President of Quiroz Enterprises.
Matthew D., 1st year member
Project: Stand With Ukraine – Matthew, along with his sponsor and three other recruits, started various fundraisers to support the people of Ukraine and the Ukraine Territorial Defense Force. To date he has raised about $700.00 (and counting) for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including Save the Children, Razom for Ukraine, World Central Kitchen, World Food Program (for Ramadan), UNICEF, and more. Matthew said, "It feels good to help someone that's in need." Sponsor: Jackie Diep, Aunt.
Sonal A., 3rd year member
Project: STEM Club at Title 1 Middle School - Sonal recruited the members of her Social Justice in Science Club to establish and host a science club at a Title 1 Middle School in Austin. Sonal assembled experiment kits, created the curriculum, designed the slideshows, and led the meetings. Additionally, with the help of her fellow volunteers, she mentored the middle school students and provided guidance as they performed the experiments. By providing the middle school students with this science enrichment club, the middle schoolers were able to explore a new world of STEM and have access to resources and opportunities they didn’t have before. Sonal said, "Organizing and hosting this science club for the middle school students was such a rewarding experience that also allowed me to improve my leadership skills. I was able to further enhance my communication, problem-solving, and responsibility skills as I helped my team overcome setbacks." Sponsor: Danielle Horton, Physics Teacher.
Aiken M., 2nd year member
Project: Towels and Blankets for Animals in Need - Aiken recruited six classmates to help with his service project, a larger scale continuation of his previous year's endeavor. The group created flyers and distributed them in their respective neighborhoods around Houston to raise awareness for their cause. Using various methods, they collected, washed, and donated used towels and blankets for the Houston SPCA animal shelter. In total, they collected 154 pounds of towels and blankets, the Houston SPCA's most urgently required item. Aiken said, "As a result of this service project, I learned how to better assign tasks to team members based on ability and to coordinate larger-scale undertakings." Sponsor: Karan Madan, Doctor.
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., 3rd year member
Project: Hospice Center Care Packages - Megal and her peers collected items to put together 36 care packages for residents at Aspen Hospice and Palliative Care in Austin. The seniors were overjoyed, and the project brought holiday cheer to the hospice center. Megal said, "Completing this project allowed me to strengthen my bond with my community." Sponsor: Rebecca Gibbs, Teacher.
Anya A., 3rd year member
Project: Guardians of Sight - Anya recruited three friends to provide over 50 hours of service at Total Eye Care, helping children and elderly patients see better by collecting 50 pairs of refurbished eyeglasses and 100 large print books. Her project included visual field testing for glaucoma research patients, diagnostic screening, and work in the optical lab. In addition to benefitting patients, Anya learned the invaluable role of early vision correction in a child's life and felt empowered to continue serving as a guardian of sight. Anya said, "I never realized how I took my ability to read for granted until I met people who couldn’t even see. Helping people with visual impairments taught me how to stay humble as a leader and never stop giving hope." Sponsor: Natasha Bhagaria, Church Youth Director.
Kristyn L., 1st year member
Project: Assisting Abigail's Place - Kristyn and a few members of her school's honor society collected and sold books to raise money for Abigail's Place. The proceeds supported the charity's efforts to provide shelter for displaced single mothers by assisting with rent payments. Kristyn said, "Despite a major setback that forced me to rework my service project on short notice, I was still able to find a way to support a good cause. I took this as an opportunity to practice revising projects on a tight schedule." Sponsor: Wendi Lacki, Liaison to School.