Community Service

Activities, Community Service – Good Ideas for projects.

How can you get involved?
There are many opportunities available in Jacksonville. Since these opportunities change constantly, you can find out about new and ongoing opportunities at these websites:
Volunteer Match - http://www.volunteermatch.org. Enter your zip code and get a listing of local opportunities.
Volunteer Jacksonville - http://www.volunteerjacksonville.org/ . Hundreds of opportunities are available through this organization.
The I.M. Sulzbacher Center - http://www.imshomelesscenter.org. Volunteer opportunities.

Great Ideas for Leadership in Community Service Activities

The following students have earned scholarships for their community service efforts.

Sunjay founded a program called Ayudame, in which high school students teach immigrants in their community to speak English. Under his leadership, the program grew from a small program involving four tutors and students to over forty students and tutors. This program has brought two disparate groups together, and has led to the creation of a site in the community for cross-cultural communication and understanding.

Josh created a recycling center at his high school. The center raises money that will be used to provide a scholarship for a graduating senior, and it improves the environment for all Marfa residents. The school’s National Honor Society will continue to run the center as a permanent project.

Mary created a seminar program, called A.R.T.S., which brought together volunteer artists and underprivileged elementary children. The eight week seminars were designed to help the students discover their own artistic passions and to learn to use them as healthy, constructive emotional outlets. Mary followed up her seminars with a fund raising benefit that raised $3000 for an arts scholarship fund so that these students can take lessons in their preferred arts.

Can founded an inter school organization of Vietnamese American Youth. The organization enrolls 90 students from San Jose and provides disadvantaged and newly immigrated Vietnamese students with support, guidance and school tutoring. In addition, this organization raises money to sponsor needy children for corrective surgery, to construct a new elementary school in Hue, Vietnam and to provide emergency disaster relief.

Katherine organized a project that provides emotional support to children who are living, with their mothers, in a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. She contacted local businesses which donated materials and services to create tote bags for each child who comes into the shelter. Other merchants donated books and toys to put in the bags. She brought together many businesses in the community, an existing women’s shelter and the student government and students of her high school. This year, Katherine’s project provided totes for approximately 200 children. Plans are in place so that the project will continue next year while Katherine is in college.

Kristin created classroom lending libraries for an entire elementary school in her community. She publicized the book collection drive, set up collection boxes throughout the community, contacted publishers and suppliers for donations and sorted the books into appropriate categories. Ultimately, she presented the school with over 3,000 books for its classrooms and library.

Armen initiated a fund raising project that involved his school’s 200 member Key Club in raising money for cerebral palsy rehabilitation for two local families and for the Untied Cerebral Palsy Foundation. The project took six months to complete and raised over $12,000 for beneficiaries

Carrie created a gardening project for children in her community which brings together nearly 100 volunteers, elementary school children, local food banks, and a local domestic violence shelter. Her project, which is in its second year, involves children in every aspect of growing food, which they chose to donate to the hungry, and in growing decorative crops, such as gourds and pumpkins which will decorate the school as well as the domestic violence shelter.

Pam has been involved in several different projects that have increased awareness of the importance of conservation in her community, improved water quality in local streams and wells, and provided flood protection to the residents of Peck, Idaho. For two years, she has coordinated the annual Environmental Awareness Days event in Lewiston. She recruited and trained over 40 group leaders and assistants and developed and published resource materials for over 550 participants. In addition, she recruited, supervised and trained a group of youth to prepare educational materials on pesticides and fertilizers and publishes a newletter for approximately 200 local residents that increases awareness of four projects to improve water quality.

Suellen established a high school program that works in conjunction with Big Brother Big Sisters of Sarasota County. Working with existing caseworkers, Suellen has created a mentorship program that matches high school students with local children. She has monitored the program, arranged for training workshops and developed guidelines that have been adopted by Big Brothers Big Sisters so that her program will continue once she leaves for college.

John helped to start the 48 member Youth Action Council which encourages community and youth development through community service such as neighborhood cleanups. He has brought together school children from elementary school to high school, community citizen groups, business affiliates and the local government. His efforts have focused on issues from litter removal to increasing awareness about lead pollution at abandoned city dumps. The mayor appointed him to the City of Jacksonville’s Citizen’s Planning Advisory Council.

Annie utilized her role as president of Oakland, California’s Asian Youth Services Committee to create bridges between the Asian community, the Oakland Police, the City of Oakland and the Oakland Unified School District. Under her leadership, Asian Youth Services Committee provided the Bay Area with ongoing social events that brought 800 to 1000 at-risk youth to safe and fun activities in the heart of Oakland. On weekends, Annie volunteered at the Chinese Resource Center of the Oakland Police Department, where she served as a translator for non-English speaking Chinese crime victims and as a trouble-shooter for the police. With the help of the Oakland Public Schools, she created a peer mentorship program in which high school students spent four class periods a week in local elementary schools tutoring children who needed extra help and attention. Both the Governor of California and the Mayor of Oakland have honored Annie as an extraordinary citizen.

For the last two years, Tiffany has been waging a personal battle against illiteracy. Her attack has been on two fronts: tutoring in reading skills and linking reading with social pleasure via a girls’ book club. She began tutoring in 1998 at a local elementary school. Realizing that the students at this school came from homes where reading was not a family activity, Tiffany created Reading Partners/Tutors and recruited 20 fellow high school students to volunteer to read to the younger children on Saturday mornings. In addition, she organized a book drive and convinced local businesses, churches and community service groups to donate over 400 books to the young readers. To help make reading even more appealing, Tiffany also developed a book club for fifth-grade girls which she called Sister to Sister Book Club. She provided drinks and snacks for the girls and facilitated informal discussions of the chosen books. Tiffany’s peers from the Alabama School of Fine Arts are going to continue the Reading Partners/Tutors program now that she has graduated from high school.

Emily created a community service club, called RACS (Random Acts of Community Service Club) at her high school. This club has become a vehicle for over 50 high school students to find opportunities to connect to the world outside of school. RACS volunteers tutored children weekly at a local elementary school, volunteered weekly at the Senior Center, helped weekly at the Nevada AIDS Foundation, helped monthly at the Nevada VistaCare Hospice, and provided workers for several one-time jobs such as painting lines in the Senior Center parking lot. Although Emily has graduated, RACS will continue to exist at Fernley High School, continuing to help the community for years to come.

T. Joseph designed and initiated an art therapy program for the elderly. His program, Art to Heart, provided the opportunity for nursing home residents to express their creativity through different mediums. T. Joseph made weekly visits to three nursing homes, reaching approximately thirty residents. His focus was on the process, not the product, and even legally blind residents participated in expressing themselves through the visual arts. At the end of the year, he planned and presented an art show at each facility with matted and framed artwork, award certificates, refreshments and press coverage.

Tracey took a class project in chemistry and over the course of three years turned it into an environmental action organization dedicated to ending pollution of and acid mine drainage into the Susquehanna River watershed. After co-founding a high school River Club to study the problem of river pollution, Tracey brought together resources from throughout the community- town officials, a university professor working with the U.S. Geological Survey, a local archeological firm, and local environmentalists to speak to the club and help it find ways to protect and clean Susquehanna River. She took the initiative to recruit younger students to the project and trained them to continue the work she began. The Club published a pamphlet of data and information it has collected and is hoping to use this information to increase public awareness of watershed pollution and acid mine drainage.

Brynn founded a non-profit organization, Paint-Up Montana, that paints the homes of low-income families at no cost to the home owners. The work is done by volunteers, usually high school students. In order to paint the first 25 houses in western Montana, Brynn wrote a grant proposal and secured money from the Washington Foundation. In the two years that Paint Up Montana has been in existence, volunteers have painted 52 houses in six Montana cities. Brynn continues to serve on the board of directors of Paint Up Montana, and hopes her project will soon be national

Devon established a Gay/Straight Alliance in his high school that provides a support network for a high school community that had been under attack and without an organization to speak for its safety and fairness needs. He researched and conducted weekly group discussions and lessons that empowered and built a community of students who had previously felt isolated and vulnerable. Before GSA existed, gay and lesbian students had dropped out of school rather than continue to face intolerance and harassment. His courageous efforts drew members from high school students throughout the county.

Jameka created a recreational cheerleading squad, the Maxton Eagles, for girls in her city of Maxton, North Carolina. The girls ranged in age from 7 to 13. For the last two years, Jameka coached the team in a local park three times a week, created fundraisers to pay for uniforms and activities, and found opportunities for the team to compete and perform. The mayor of Maxton credits Jameka with creating a program for youth in the community that builds self-esteem and having helped the girls on the cheerleading squad to “achieve higher grades, positive attitudes and remain in school every day.”

Leigh used her artistic talents to create a coloring book for young children. The book has original pictures, activities and word puzzles. She secured funding for the printing of the book and found local merchants who donated crayons and supplies. With the help of school clubs, Leigh bound and distributed the book to a local home for battered and abused mothers and children. This project, the Penelope House Project, has grown over four years to reach nine different community organizations and benefit 500 children. Now that she has graduated from high school, Leigh plans to continue her involvement by supervising the project, which will be implemented through Fairhope High School committees.

Joshua designed a program to benefit “at risk” children in his small rural community which has been experiencing a dramatic increase in illegal drugs, gangs, graffiti and juvenile crime. The program creates mentoring partnerships between elementary school classes and National Honor Society members at Perkins-Tryon High School. Once a week, the high school students spent their lunch hour tutoring and playing with more than two hundred younger students. Joshua worked closely with school officials to plan the program and implemented a training program for the volunteer mentors. The program will continue as a National Honor Society activity now that Joshua has graduated

Nisha created R.E.A.D, Reading for Entertainment and Development, at the end of her freshman year of high school. R.E.A.D, which Nisha organized as a new school club, matched high school volunteers with elementary school children for weekly reading sessions. The program has grown to three sites reaching about one hundred children.

Brandi decided to do something about the fact that her community, Arthur, Nebraska, has been without a grocery store for the last three years. The closest grocery store was over 50 miles away. With the help of her high school Business teacher and 25 high school members of her SIA (Students in Action) group, Brandi wrote a business plan, held community meetings, developed a board of directors, secured the support of local businesses, and eventually brought an student-run grocery store to Arthur. The store will operate as a high school class and will make grocery shopping easier for the entire community.

Joannie has been raising guide dog puppies for the blind for nine years. She takes an eight week old puppy and trains it until it is about a year old, at which time she returns the puppy to be trained as a guide dog at the Guide Dog for the Blind School in San Rafael. Joannie has taken her commitment to the guide dog program public, giving presentations to the community in nursing homes, school classes and 4-H clubs. These presentations have brought others into the puppy raisers group.

As a high school sophomore, Amanda led a campaign to prevent another tragic train accident like the one that killed two of her friends that summer. She organized a petition drive to have warning lights and bars installed at the intersection of the train tracks and the highway, and made sure that everyone realized that the only existing warning sign, a stop sign, was covered by bushes and was impossible to see. Amanda arranged for media coverage of her campaign, insuring that the public continued to focus its concern on the issue of safer train crossings. Her persistence resulted in a safer crossing that will benefit the entire community for years to come.