This video highlights service projects led by 2017-2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council members. 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.
Brini B., 3rd year member. Project: Jeans for Teens - Brini began collecting jeans to help homeless teens last December. To date she has received over 200 donations and more are still pouring in. Jeans are the number one item needed for homeless youth and provide a sense of normalcy. Brini said, “Collecting jeans for our homeless youth not only helped with homeless needs, but also spread awareness to my community about the homeless youth population.” Sponsor: Mr. Matthew Nelson, Principal.
Jax W., 3rd year member. Project: Reading Rocks - Jax painted and hid 50 rocks around his community to promote reading and more visits to the public library. Each rock had a sticker attached telling the finder to return the rock to the library to claim a free book. In addition to claiming the free book, finders would get a first hand look at the various services the library offered and hopefully a new appreciation of what a public library offers. Jax said, “I was so disappointed to find out my friends were not using our library and thought of it as a place older people used. Everyone liked the idea of hunting for rocks, and I believe my friends and the rest of the finders gained a new respect for what our small town library has to offer.” Sponsor: Ms. Brandy Williams, Parent.
Kaz W., 1st year member. Project: Christmas Cards for Veterans - Kaz made 165 Christmas cards for the local veterans and delivered them to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8789. Inside each card was a handwritten note thanking each veteran for his/her service. The cards brought Christmas joy and served as a reminder that our veterans’ service will never be forgotten. Kaz said, “While veterans are celebrated on Veterans’ Day, I realized that they should be honored and respected all year long, especially on holidays that allow us the freedom to worship however we choose.” Sponsor: Ms. Brandy Williams, Parent.
Sarah E., 1st year member. Project: Winter Warmth - Sarah and members of her church's youth group collected monetary and canned food donations for their local Center of Hope and Manna. They asked local businesses to set up small donation boxes and held an offering on Sunday, February 4th after the worship service. They received $1,171.70 and several food donations that went to the Center of Hope. The Center of Hope distributed donations to community members in need. Sarah said, “This experience helped me get out of my comfort zone when I needed to ask local businesses for their assistance and increased my confidence in my abilities.” Sponsor: Mr. Seth Rash, Youth Minister.
Sophia D., 5th year member. Project: Snack Sacks for Northeast ISD - Sophia collected over 7,000 food items with the help of her community and neighboring towns. They made a total of 1,388 bags of food which were delivered to Hatfield and Justin Elementary Schools in March. The bags will be passed out to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches to combat childhood hunger. Sophia said, “Even after five years doing community service projects, I am always stunned by the generosity of Texans across the state.” Sponsor: Ms. Kimberley Deras, Mother.
Maranda F., 1st year member. Project: Kuddles 4 Kids - Maranda, with help from her two friends and teacher, collected stuffed animals for Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. They collected 170 stuffed animals from their school and local businesses. Children's Medical Center will use the stuffed animals to help comfort sick or injured young patients. Maranda said, “My friends and I helped many kids smile, and it was the best feeling in the world! I learned that I had to delegate to accomplish more.” Sponsor: Ms. Lindsey Persson, Teacher.
Keslyn S., 5th year member. Project: Angel Tree Gifts - Keslyn's service project was about helping out the community. She chose to help out families in need at Christmas. Keslyn recruited teachers, including her sponsor, Mrs. Olcott, and FACS members to collect gifts for kids in need and spend a day caroling and passing out the gifts. Keslyn said, “You’re not only giving your time and help but the recipients are giving you love and thankfulness in return.” Sponsor: Ms. Tina Olcott, FACS teacher.
Lane B., 1st year member. Project: Birthday Party For Jesus - Lane recruited four of his friends and family to help work games at a Birthday Party for Jesus event at his local civic center during Christmas. Between 250 to 300 kids and families came to play games and enjoy the celebration. They brought the light of Jesus and hope to their community and a good feeling and excitement to their own Christmas holiday. Lane said, “I got over my fear of asking for help and learned sometimes people just want to be asked to help. I also came away with a joyful feeling and decided to make this an annual family tradition.” Sponsor: Ms. Stephanie Blakley, Parent.
Sansdhitha A., 2nd year member. Project: Global Goals Enforcement - Sansdhitha and four of her classmates gave a presentation about the United Nations Global Goals including how to incorporate them into their classrooms and how they can help save the earth and become a sustainable school. They presented to nearly 50 teachers and staff members at their school. The global goals include no poverty, no climate change, and zero poverty by the year 2030. More than three-fourths of the teachers present decided to incorporate the Global Goals into their curriculum and have promised to try to make a change in their classroom by conserving and recycling. Sansdhitha said, “I was proud that I was able to initiate and plan my activities and then reach out to my school and make a positive impact on my community.” Sponsor: Ms. Brianna Robben, Teacher.
Brianna T., 7th year member. Project: Take a Hero Home for the Holidays - Brianna and several of her friends made over 150 stars with the names of fallen soldiers on them, all coming from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and decorated a Christmas tree with them. They also sat in the front of the auditorium for the Pride of Cove Band Christmas concert. People were encouraged to take stars home and place them on their Christmas trees as a way of honoring the soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice. All the stars were taken and placed on brand new trees at different homes. Brianna said, “This was a very emotional journey for me because my father was killed in the military, but I am so glad I did it. I received so many touching words that will last me a lifetime.” Sponsor: Ms. Kim French, Teacher.
Ariel D., 1st year member. Project: Leaving Leukemia Behind - Ariel Draper, along with Copperas Cove Junior High National Junior Honor Society, House of Discipline, Self Defense America, and the Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant, participated in a “Kicking Cancer in the Butt: Kick-a-thon” to bring awareness to children's Leukemia. Over $500 was raised with different activities throughout the day including a kicking contest, silent auction, donations, kicking activities, and a percentage of in-store sales at the local candy store being donated to the cause. All money raised was donated to St. Jude's Children Research Hospital. Ariel said, “I learned how to organize large groups of people to help with my event.” Sponsor: Ms. Anne Derby, Mother.
D'Angelo W., 3rd year member. Project: Retirement Home Music Group - D'Angelo and a group of his classmates went to a retirement community with their orchestra teacher and played an assortment of Christmas music. D'Angelo said, “We can definitely make this a long-term thing. I would definitely love to continue this for other communities.” Sponsor: Ms. Jolene Roodenburg, Orchestra Teacher.
Abigail B., 1st year member. Project: Thrive Bags and Dog Walker Packs - Abigail recruited the assistance of her church, Fairbanks United Methodist, and the Goodson Middle School Student Council President to collect 30 backpacks and supplies to be given to the Be A Resource (BEAR) Organization. Abigail exceeded her goal by providing 50 backpacks filled with supplies to comfort and help children in the care of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that are served by BEAR. Abigail learned about budgeting the money she received through donations and how to spend that money wisely to increase the number of children she was able to help. In addition, Abigail received a donation of 30 fanny packs from the Houston Marathon Committee which she filled with supplies to help dog walkers at Special Pals Animal Shelter. Abigail said, “I learned how to adapt and look outside the box to find a new path to help not only one but two organizations. It was great helping so many in need while growing as a leader in the process.” Sponsor: Reverend Deanna Young, Reverend.
Kole K., 1st year member. Project: K & B Pet Item Collection - Kole and his friend collected highly requested and used items for a local animal shelter, Lucky Mutt Rescue in Cypress, Texas. They created a flyer to post on media and neighborhood websites and had multiple drop-off locations. Several kennels, dog beds, towels, cleaning products, and bags of food were collected. Kole said, “I felt like I could’ve done more with this project; however, time management skills are part of the learning process which I intend to improve on. I was proud to accomplish this project.” Sponsor: Ms. Laura Krause, Parent
Gavin B., 1st year member. Project: Code Word Care - Gavin and his friends created curriculum and instructed computer coding and computer skills classes for Girls Scout Troop #8449. The troop earned their coding and computer expert badges. Gavin said, “I learned the importance of communication and patience. Teaching the Girl Scout Troop helped me connect better with others and be a positive leader.” Sponsor: Ms. Ileana Framjee, Troop Leader #8449.
Anna B., 4th year member. Project: Spend Some Time - Anna and two of her friends decided to spend time with residents of the Heritage Villa Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a local nursing home in Dayton, Texas. They played games like checkers and Connect Four, talked and made conversation, and helped with an Easter Egg Hunt. Some residents do not get many visitors and Anna and her friends wanted to brighten their days. Anna said, “This project helped me become a better leader because it forced me to look at the different situations and circumstances these men and women in the home are in or face. There are so many different people from different backgrounds and leaders should try to understand differences and unite everyone under one common goal. Our goal in this case was friendship and fellowship.” Sponsor: Mr. W.T. Brothers, Youth Director
Helen H., 3rd year member. Project: Casa Marianella Holiday Treats Delivery - Helen, with the help of several friends from the Westlake High School Baking Club, baked and packaged over 60 handmade holiday treats. The desserts were delivered to refugee shelter home Casa Marianella, spreading holiday cheer to residents going through difficult times. Helen said, “I've always had a passion for desserts so using my skills in that and working with other people for a good cause was a really fun and rewarding experience.” Sponsor: Ms. Jenna Scott, Baking Club Sponsor.
Mia S., 1st year member. Project: Soar, Succeed, and Accomplish - Mia and two local businesses, Lucky's Septic Service and Reliance Oilfield Services, collected canned and boxed goods and frozen turkeys and donated them to 40 families of children attending her school that would otherwise go without a hot Thanksgiving meal. They also collected 20 jackets for children in need and donated school supplies to students and teachers. Additionally, Mia volunteered her extra time to tutor kids and help teachers grade, organize, and clean before and after school. Mia said, “I learned a lot about other people’s struggles and discovered a lot about myself. My leadership skills are now stronger and I take advantage of this by helping other students through their hardships.” Sponsor: Mr. Luis Nieto, Owner, Lucky's Septic Service.
Helen Z., 1st year member. Project: One Glass at a Time - Helen and five friends (Neha, Jackie, Emma, Abhi, and Ellie) sold lemonade and iced tea to raise awareness and money for the Sugarland Animal Shelter. Helen said, “It felt good to help improve the lives of so many animals.” Sponsor: Ms. Brennette Newton-Gunter, Teacher.
Charlize L., 2nd year member. Project: Give a Coat and Share the Warmth – Charlize and her brother and sister collected 308 winter coats and jackets at three locations: Quail Valley Middle School, WCP-St. Laurence Catholic School, and Traditional Karate Center. The coats were donated to the Star of Hope homeless shelter, Houston Homeless, and Fort Bend Women’s Center, a shelter for survivors of domestic or sexual violence and their children. The project started with just with Charlize's family but then three more families, a total of ten individuals, joined the effort. Charlize said, “An 11-year-old girl only wanted a fleece jacket for Christmas. I was touched because she asked for a basic need and not a want like a toy. It made me think of how many children need coats for winter and I found so many of them. I wanted to help as many as I could get coats for winter. I have been forever changed by this experience and I have decided to make this my yearly service project. This is my second year doing this project and it made me become a better leader because I had to step out of my comfort zone to be able to talk to principals and business owners so I could set-up coat collection boxes. My efforts worked and I was able to help a lot of people to stay warm during the cold winter season. It only takes one person to make a difference in someone life. Each and every one of us has the capability to make a difference.” Sponsor: Mrs. Jamaimah Lopez, Teacher, Mother.
Ethan L., 1st year member. Project: Stronger Me - Ethan recruited one of the instructors from his Martial Arts Studio to help him start up a Self-Defense Club at his middle school. He held meetings before school every Tuesday for five weeks and taught students techniques to defend themselves from bullies or other attackers. By teaching these techniques, Ethan made himself and his classmates stronger mentally and physically. Ethan said, “This project made me realize that anyone can make a positive difference in our community, no matter how big or small.” Sponsor: Ms. Megan Wallace, Theatre Director at Sartartia Middle School.
Emma L., 4th year member. Project: Undies for Everyone - Emma worked with a group of women and taught them how to cook. In return, she asked for underwear donations. She also recruited students from her martial arts studio to collect donations. In total, she collected about 300 pairs of underwear to donate to Undies for Everyone, a non-profit organizationt that collects underwear for those in need. The underwear Emma collected will benefit those affected by Hurricane Harvey and school districts in the Houston area. Emma said, “This experience allowed me to apply my interest in cooking to help people in need. It also showed me how I can be creative with my service projects and come up with fun ways to help the community.”
Riley K., 2nd year member. Project: Freshmen and Sophomores Volunteer at The Local Food Bank - Riley and three scholars from Young Men's Leadership Academy and three GEMS from Young Women's Leadership Academy volunteered at the Tarrant Area Food Bank on a Friday when school was out. Riley said, “I learned that you need to have dependable people with you, and it's usually a good idea to consult some people that might point out an obvious problem/solution you missed.” Sponsor: Ms. Penni Askew, Mother, Editor.
Vedika P., 3rd year member. Project: Animal Helping - Vedika volunteered her time to help homeless animals. Vedika said, “I learned how to care more for the beings around me.” Sponsor: Ms. Mellisa Dinger, Teacher.
Casey W., 1st year member. Project: Kick It for Challenger! - Casey enlisted his older brother to help him organize “Kick It for Challenger!”, a kickball tournament benefiting the North Shore Little League - Challenger Division and The Negami Toy Drive. A fun day playing kickball with friends resulted in over $100 for the Challenger Division, as well as toys and eight $10 Wal-Mart gift cards for The Negami Toy Drive. Casey said, “I like to help others and I like to play sports. It was a lot of work to put it all together, but I learned we can have fun playing kickball and raise money at the same time to help boys and girls have a nicer Christmas. I am already planning the next “Kick It for Challenger!” kickball tournament.” Sponsor: Ms. Beth Wenner, Mother.
Riley D., 1st year member. Project: Paws 4 a Cause: Going Home Goody Bags - Riley recruited two friends and family members to help make and distribute Going Home Goody Bags for dogs and cats being adopted from the Georgetown Animal Shelter. The team made 50 dog goody bags which contained handmade tug toys, treat bags, and bandanas. They also made 30 cat goody bags which contained handmade pom-poms, catnip pillows, and toilet paper roll toys. The goody bags provided toys that the dogs or cats could play with upon arriving home in hopes of easing the transition into their new home. Riley said, “I learned how to plan a productive meeting which helped me be a better leader.” Sponsor: Ms. Elysia Davis, Parent.
Kamy A., 2nd year member. Project: Kindness is Fashionable! - Kamy Adams, with the help of her sponsor Regenia Hunt, collected 25 to 30 bags of clothes from students around Kamy’s school. Kamy placed bins throughout the hallways where students dropped off all kinds of clothes. Kamy’s project, “Kindness is Fashionable!”, provided clothes for those who aren’t able to afford the clothes they need. Her project showed her classmates how rewarding giving those in need can be. Kamy said, “I think ‘Kindness is Fashionable!’ has shown me how willing others are to help out around the community. The results of the project were much better than I could have hoped for!” Sponsor: Ms. Regenia Hunt, Teacher.
Maura C., 3rd year member. Project: Bring a Book, Build a Future - Maura partnered with her sister to recruit her school and neighboring schools to collect books and create bookmarks for Mitchell Elementary School in Houston, Texas, who lost their library due to Hurricane Harvey. Maura and other volunteers collected over 2,000 children's books by asking students and members of the community for book and/or monetary donations. They did so through radio advertisements, school announcements, social media, and by word of mouth. They also received many bookmarks to insert inside the collected books from students across Nolan County. This service project allowed Maura and her volunteers to make a difference for those affected by the hurricane and it also allowed them to spread their love of literature. Maura said, “This project built my leadership and communication skills more than ever. Though it took some major planning and organization, I believe I am a better leader because of it.” Sponsor: Ms. Jaci Chapman, Parent.
Grayson C., 1st year member. Project: Bring a Book, Build a Future - Grayson Chapman, with the help of her sister, helped donate books to Mitchell Elementary School in Houston, Texas, who lost their whole library due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Grayson said, “With the help of many people, I was able to accomplish my goal. It felt amazing to know that I helped to build the futures of many students.” Sponsor: Ms. Stephanie Baker, Principal.
Camille A., 7th year member. Project: Carnegie Vanguard High School International Festival Cultural Performance – Camille, Cultural Performance Director; Cora Wen, Fashion Show Director; Aemen Absar, Master of Ceremonies; Isabella Hsu, Music Coordinator; and Carnegie Vanguard's Interact Club worked together to organize a show with over 40 volunteer performers to demonstrate cultures from around the world. As part of a large festival, the Cultural Performance and Fashion Show were accompanied by booths that sold food and organized fun activities. The festival raised over $5,000 to buy books to replenish the library of Mitchell Elementary School after Hurricane Harvey. Camille said, “This project helped me to really understand how much time, effort, and communication goes into pulling off such a big fundraiser with so many hardworking teammates.” Sponsor: Ms. Miyuki Terry, Interact Club Sponsor.
Rohit D., 6th year member. Project: Go Green! - Rohit and his friends helped “Trees for Houston” plant trees in a park in Houston. They dug deep holes as wide as the root balls of the trees and carefully planted trees. The project helped all Houstonians as they will enjoy the beauty and shade the trees provide and a healthier environment which is more resilient to climate change and pollution. Rohit said, “I feel a great sense of satisfaction giving back to my community and the environment.” Sponsor: Ms. Jean Dsilva, Parent.
Christine R., 2nd year member. Project: Music to You Holiday Chorus - Christine and 13 of her vocal department classmates visited and sang a holiday program at the Brookdale West University Senior Home. In addition to singing for the seniors, Christine and her friends prepared 60 gift bags filled with socks and ornaments, and made a large poster wishing the seniors happy holidays. The concert benefited the students experiences in performing and also brought the seniors holiday cheer and priceless reactions to many different beautiful voices. Christine said, “Organizing a full program took lots of time and effort and there were bumpy experiences but getting through them helped me grow as a leader and most importantly as a person; I learned the importance of being open-minded and patient. Seeing the impact our group had on a few in the community was very valuable.” Sponsor: Professor Yuying Liu, Associate Professor at UT Medical School.
ZaCory S., 1st year member. Project: Happy Feet: Helping Houston's Homeless Population - ZaCory, along with family, friends, and fellow Cub Scout Pack members, collected over 150 pairs of socks. The group sorted and bagged the socks according to size, color, and by gender. The socks were distributed by ZaCory, his older brother, and mother at The Beacon, a non-profit organization that serves the Houston homeless community through daily services, civil legal aid, counseling and mentoring, and access to housing. ZaCory said, “I gained knowledge on how to organize a large activity and have the tools to motivate a big group of people.” Sponsor: Ms. LaToya Shields, Parent.
Anthony R., 1st year member. Project: Clothing Drive - Anthony recruited three classmates to help him collect donated clothes. They donated more than 150 articles of clothing to the Salvation Army to help other children. Anthony said, “This is a great way to know that anyone can help anybody.” Sponsor: Mr. Dave Muzyka, Principal.
Kaitlyn S., 1st year member. Project: Sock Out Cancer - Kaitlyn collected socks for kids that have cancer at Texas Children's Hospital. She collected 343 pairs of socks by putting out buckets at her father's office and her parents’ friend’s office. It had a huge impact on the kids and made them feel very happy. Kaitlyn said, “This amazing experience taught me that being kind can pay off in the long run and that made me feel like a stronger leader.” Sponsor: Mr. Robert Sitton, Humble ISD Trustee.
Hannah H., 1st year member. Project: Happy Tails Animal Shelter - Hannah's project goal was to raise $650 to purchase a box of microchips for the Jackson County Happy Tails Animal Shelter by selling chocolate bars. Hannah recruited two friends to assist with sales. Chocolate bars were sold at retail locations, to friends and family, and at a county market. All collected money was donated to Happy Tails. $577 was raised. Hannah said, “It felt good to help the shelter with a donation that helps place homeless pets in happy homes.” Sponsor: Ms. Jennifer Gibbs, Parent.
Pablo C., 1st year member. Project: Ballard House’s Pets - The Ballard House provides temporary housing for individuals and their families who are hospitalized or receiving treatment for a serious medical condition. Pablo and his brother Luis collected $286 to benefit the pets of Ballard House guests. By donating to this cause, families were able to keep their furry companions in a safe place without having to surrender them. Pablo said, “I was able to work on my communication skills while helping the community.” Sponsor: Ms. Idalia Morfey, Leader.
Mackenzie G., 2nd year member. Project: Katy Prairie Restoration - Mackenzie and three of her friends worked hard to help restore the Katy Prairie. They planted over 100 plants to benefit the wildlife that reside there. Mackenzie said, “I had a great time working together with my friends to restore wildlife habitat. Although it was very cold, it was all worth it.” Sponsor: Ms. Traci Gault, Parent.
Lily T., 1st year member. Project: Desserts for The Ronald McDonald House - Lily and three friends baked desserts for the residents at the Ronald McDonald House. They made around two dozen cookies, one and a half dozen cupcakes, and a batch of brownies. Families living at the Ronald McDonald House got some sweet treats and the girls learned the meaning of giving. Lily said, “We were able to come together and work hard to reach our goal.” Sponsor: Mr. Kevin Tran, Father.
Peyton M., 1st year member. Project: Books for Kids in Foster Care - Peyton and his father, Chris, collected over 100 books for kids in foster care. Peyton said, “I collected books for kids who have so little. I hope the books give them a bright spot in their day. I learned how important it is to help other children.” Sponsor: Ms. Candra Mizeski, Parents.
Samuel F., 3rd year member. Project: T-shirt Toys for Montgomery County Animal Shelter - Sam collected old t-shirts from neighbors and, with the help of his mom and a friend, turned them into chew toys for dogs awaiting adoption at the Montgomery County Animal Hospital. Over several weeks, Sam made 50 braided chew toys. Samuel said, “We adopted our dog from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter and I knew I wanted to give back to them. Seeing the gratitude from shelter employees when I delivered the chew toys made me realize how my project impacted both dogs and the staff. Their appreciation showed me what a difference small gestures can make and inspired me to try and help whenever I can.” Sponsor: Ms. Patti Fralick, Mother.
Jayson K., 1st year member. Project: Leave It for the Pooch and Pennies Four Paws - Jayson, with the help of his mother, created a Facebook group (currently 168 followers) dedicated to raising money and collecting new and gently used items to help shelter and foster animals. He also set out coin collection jars at retail locations to collect monetary donations. Through these two projects Jayson raised money and collected hundreds of items to benefit shelters and fosters and improve their quality of life. Jayson said, “I may be young, but I believe in myself. I can, I have, and I will continue to make a big difference!” Sponsor: Ms. Kimberlee Kimberly, Mother.
Lindsi T., 4th year member. Project: Birthdays in a Bag - Lindsi enlisted the help of her church's youth group to help her raise $800 to put 70 birthday bags together for the Guadalupe Valley Family Violence Center. The bags, which contained all the items needed to have a birthday party, were handed out to the ladies the family violence center helps as many of the women have kids and are unable to otherwise provide their kids with a birthday celebration. Lindsi said, “I learned that I should never give up no matter what is holding me back because I can always succeed in some way.” Sponsor: Ms. Donna Ewald, Teacher.
Shelby S., 1st year member. Project: The Gabriel Project - Shelby and her mom put boxes around the community to collect unused baby items. One of the boxes was put at Shelby's school library. Shelby got 30 donations in all. The donations helped mothers and their babies who don't have a lot of baby clothes, bottles, or other items they need. Shelby said, “I wanted to do this project because I felt very strongly about it. Some mothers don't have what they or their children need and its so horrible that they live like this. That is why I did this project.” Sponsor: Ms. Maria Villa, Gabriel Project Volunteer.
Mikylie W., 1st year member. Project: More Foundation Group Shoe Drive – Kyli, with the help of two friends, collected shoes for the More Foundation from their neighborhood and community. Mikylie said, “A small service project could benefit people around the world. It helped me improve as a leader showing me every little action can have a big impact.” Sponsor: Ms. Jennifer Marlow, Carl Shurtz, PTA President.
Emilie J., 2nd year member. Project: Embody Love Club Nixon-Smiley Middle School - Emilie and 12 schoolmates met twice-monthly to brainstorm campus-wide challenges and public service announcement campaigns to encourage others to accept and appreciate themselves as they are. They organized numerous projects including campus Hurricane Harvey donations for Texas Children's Hospital, Halloween-themed anti-bullying posters, and an activity booth at school sponsored community Trunk or Treat just to name a few. Emilie said, “My experience leading Embody Love Club this year reinforced my belief that everyone has something to contribute. People feel valued and appreciated when you listen to their ideas and trust them to take the lead to carry out group goals.” Sponsor: Ms. Tasha Janicek, Theatre Teacher & National Junior Honor Society Sponsor.
Matthew J., 2nd year member. Project: Donating Books to Elementary Students of China – Matthew and two friends collected more than 70 English books which were sent to Matthew's elementary school teacher, Zhou Yang, of the East China Normal University Affiliated Elementary School. Donations kept coming in, even after his deadline. Through this project, Matthew expanded the section of English books set up last year in Matthew's elementary school. Matthew said, “Through the period of collecting books, I came to appreciate the merit of knowledge as well as an understanding of those who I should truly trust.” Sponsor: Professor Minhe Ji, Guardian.
Téa M., 3rd year member. Project: Collecting Christmas Boxes for Kids - Téa asked friends to help collect Christmas boxes for kids that included books, toys, and other items. The boxes were donated to the Samaritan House. Téa said, “I encountered difficulty in finding a place for the boxes to go, but working with those in school gave me support and encouragement to find a place to help kids.” Sponsor: Ms. Judy McCormack, Girl Scout Troop Leader.
Ava S., 1st year member. Project: Flowers for Seniors - Ava went to her great grandmother’s senior living center in Temple, Texas to pass out 60 red carnations to the residents. She passed out extra flowers to people working at the center. Ava said, “I learned how you should put other people’s needs before yours.” Sponsor: Ms. Laura Sullivan, NCL Grade Level Advisor.
Jordan S., 3rd year member. Project: Books for our Buddies - Jordan, with the help of her drill team, collected over 50 children’s books for the Book Buddies organization which provides underprivileged children with books to read. Jordan said, “Being able to provide others with learning materials is such a blessing.” Sponsor: Ms. Laura Sullivan, NCL Grade Level Advisor.
Aiden P., 3rd year member. Project: Scholarships for Seniors – Aiden, with the help of community members, held a bake sale to raise scholarship funds for seniors at Port Aransas High School. He contributed $812.39 to the Port Aransas Youth Development Foundation to assist the Class of 2018 with future education costs. The fundraising effort was important because many of those who normally award scholarships were not able to do so in light of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. Aiden said, “I enjoyed working with the community and helping others to reach their goals.” Sponsor: Ms. Jana Snow, Youth Development Foundation of Port Aransas Volunteer.
Collin H., 3rd year member. Project: Book Drive for Families in Need - Collin and two friends organized a book drive. They collected over 385 books for the Austin/Round Rock metro area. The books went to Austin families and schools in need. Collin said, “Serving and providing for my community has always been a must for me. I’ve grown immensely as a leader and hope to inspire others to give back to their communities, too.” Sponsor: Ms. Amanda Horn, Teacher, Youth Development.
Alexis A., 3rd year member. Project: Soldiers in Need - Alexis and her church body donated items to send to soldiers overseas. They filled and mailed two boxes with snacks and materials to send letters back to friends and family. Alexis said, “My church helped my cause and were so humble. This project helped me discover people’s generosity in a community.” Sponsor: Ms. Rebbekah Andress, Mother.
Caden B., 4th year member. Project: Better Sleep and Warmer Feet - Caden enlisted the help of the Student Council at his former elementary school to collect plastic bags and socks. The group collected over 1,000 plastic bags to be made into bedding and over 200 pairs of socks. The items were donated to the Caring Hearts, Helping Hands of Tyler, Texas to help benefit the homeless. Caden said, “I hit a couple of roadblocks and had to start a new project, but in the end everything came together and I am glad I benefited my community.” Sponsor: Ms. Laura Rozell, Student Council Director.
Blake J., 3rd year member. Project: Free Library for Cornerstone Neighborhood - Blake recruited Cody and Hannah to help him build, and gather books for, a free library. The group met to make flyers to gather the books and later met to design their free library. When the group met for the final time, they finished building their free library which they installed for children who couldn't get books from a local library who now have access to books. Blake said, “I was slightly concerned about making decisions with my group, but after a while I began to trust them and others to help me accomplish my goals.” Sponsor: Mr. Scott Sustek, Teacher.
Steven E., 1st year member. Project: Warming the Hearts of San Antonio - Steven enlisted the help of his entire school to collect over 100 blankets, socks, and scarves. Students filled one large bin of donations for SAM Ministries. The homeless people received items that they needed to stay warm. Steven said, “I liked involving my school to help all of us experience the joy of sharing.” Sponsor: Ms. Veronica Beck, Principal.
Caylin K., 1st year member. Project: Thanks Giving Canned Food Drive - Caylin and five of her school friends made posters and boxes for a canned food drive and set them up at four different locations. They collected over 200 pounds of canned food items. Hill Country Community Ministries was able to feed many families because of the donations. Caylin said, “While organizing this project, I found that being a leader is not just being a good example, being helpful, and being fair; it is also being a great friend.” Sponsor: Ms. Kalika Sarathkumara, Director.
Matthew Alain De G., 5th year member. Project: Tutoring the Young - Matthew and many volunteers facilitated the education of peers and young children at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church and St. John XXIII College Preparatory. During the weekdays, they tutored multiple peers in various subjects such as math and physics, and on Sunday, they assisted seventh graders in the formation of morals and beliefs. Through this program, students and volunteers gained a deeper understanding of themselves and the world. Matthew said, “Throughout this project, I learned how to adapt and work together with many different types of kids.” Sponsor: Ms. Nellie Aguilera, Religious Education Facilitator.
Hannah M., 1st year member. Project: Supply Drive Benefiting Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center - Hannah enlisted the help of her church, First Presbyterian Church of Longview, to collect items for the Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center. She was able to collect a variety of items including cat and dog food, toys, blankets, and towels for the center. Hannah said, “I love knowing that I was able to help animals and provide some supplies and toys.” Sponsor: Ms. Kendal Land, First Presbyterian Church.
Anna K., 7th year member. Project: A Christmas Surprise - Anna collected donations for her local Ronald McDonald House to be given as gifts around Christmas time. Some of the donations included gift cards from businesses such as Costco and California Pizza Kitchen. Anna said, “Planning this project helped me improve my organization skills. I also enjoyed making a contribution to my community.” Sponsor: Mr. Marcus Kaya, Teacher.