Monday, April 23, 2018

The week that was National Volunteer Week 2018/Global Youth Service Days and Earth Day 2018

Presidential Volunteer Service Award 2018 Recognition Ceremony

YAC Co-Presidents 2018-2019
Today was the last school day of National Volunteer Week 2018.  The YAC Co-Presidents of next school year (Katherine S'19, Sahanya B.'19, and Ellison G.'19)  recognized at Upper Division Chapel this year's Presidential Service Award Winners.

"The President's Volunteer Service Award is a part of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by the Points of Light Foundation.

Through a shared mission of inspiring more to answer the call to service, the President's Volunteer Service Award celebrates the impact we can all make in bettering our communities and our world. Presidential recognition sets you apart from your peers. It is a tremendous honor.
Even though you may not seek recognition, your example can deliver a powerful  
message that encourages others to take action.  

Hours are measured over a 12-month period.

YAC Co-Presidents decorated the tables for the doughnuts
appreciation before and after chapel gathering for PVSA medallists
The awards are offered in several categories " kids, teens, young adults, adults, and lifetime service achievement."    

Each award category includes bronze, silver, and gold levels.  The highest honor, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is for those who contribute more than 4,000 hours of service in a lifetime.

Awardees will receive a medal, a certificate, and a letter from the President of the United States at an ice cream social in their honor when the medals arrive and all members of the senior class finish documenting hours served for requirement completion."

The Medalists

The bronze medal; teens 15 or younger need a minimum of 50 hours, while young adults 16 or older must serve a minimum of a 100 hours.  

Isabel Alberola, Jack Barrett, Will Bennett, Quinn Bunnag, Jackson Davis, Sophia Dystra, Charlee Enderby,  Nika Gorski,
Caroline Hawley, Adam Hughes, Alec Karam, Jillian Kim, Aurian Kutner, Cooper Lindstrom, Courtney Melton,
Isabella Moore, Margo Naifeh, Isabella Pardo, Sharun Philip, Aidan Raikar, Caleb Richards, Justin Schneider,
Caroline Terrell, Mason Thomas, Michael Ting, Milley VanSant, Celine Voung

The silver medal, teens 15 or younger need a minimum of 75 hours, while young adults 16 or older must serve a minimum of 175 hours.

Lucas Barrett, Hannah Jordan, Tara Ramakrishnan, Eva Rangel, Lukas Schneider, Ellie Taylor, Grace Utz

The gold medal, teens 15 or younger need a minimum of 100 hours, while young adults 16 or older must serve a minimum of 250 hours.

Ahmed Hussan, Gabrielle Karam, Zaadia Nazir, Kaili Nguyen, Malavika Rajaram, Neeley Patel, Katherine Schoeffler,
Brandon Trachtenberg, Doran Walters, Noah Youmans

Presidential Service Award Winners with YAC Co Presidents for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019

The Presidential Volunteer Service Award Winners had doughnuts, water, coffee and tea in their honor after Chapel as a small token of the YAC appreciation for all the good they do for the Oklahoma and global communities in need.

Casady's National Volunteer Week 2018

During the double, the service-learning office screened the movie "Pay it Forward "because participants arrived at 3:15 at the Transept and Pursuit of Happiness was not available yet.  There will be a later date screening of the "The Pursuit of Happiness." at the Transept as the location was ideal.  Students who participated in the screening stated, "the movie was better than expected." "Was it a true story?" No, Pay it Forward was based on the fictional book by the same name, a story created by Catherine Ryan Hyde 

On a personal note, it was ironic to have on the schedule for my last official National Volunteer Week activity at Casady as the Community Service-Learning Director with a movie, selected by the YAC leadership, that had Pursuit and Happiness in the title since those words define the value of volunteer service to me.  When a person focuses on volunteering with mind, body, and spirit, we find the best in ourselves, we define compassion in our hearts.  Encountering that piece of our souls brings happiness.  Our genuine compassion for others allows us to care deeply and see our own humanity in them, full of possibilities for a peaceful future. 

In the midst of getting things ready for the ISAS Arts Festival, daily studies,.sports, and preparing for AP exams, a small group of YAC members decided to follow Katherine S's lead and started the "One Day Care Bag for a YWCA Mother,"  YAC's action project for National Volunteer Week. 2018.  The supplies were purchased with funding provided by the compassionate heart of the Rainbolt Family Endowment. 

As a grandmother of a toddler baby boy and a four-month baby girl, I felt a deep sadness for the loving Oklahoma families facing domestic abuse when we started placing diapers, wipes, sanitary napkins, sunscreen, and an organic fruit snack.  As we continued to make art supply packages,  I felt happy that every smiley bag was going to make a few minutes of one day easier for a mother and her babies, an Oklahoma human story which hopefully will have a happy ending.

After school, I represented the Casady YAC and spent an hour at Centennial High School Community Garden, a connection made by Sahanya when she brought the rain barrel idea from the National Service-Learning Conference.  Centennial had to cancel their National Volunteer Week workday at their garden because of the teacher's walkout.  I delivered the fruit snacks for Chef Carrie's classes as a token of YAC's appreciation for the way they embraced becoming a lead school in service during Peace Week,  9/11, MLK Day, and the amazing activities they facilitated at their school during National Volunteer Week 2018. 

Chef Carrie invited YAC to help with the garden on Fridays after school until the end of the school year.  Tuesday Sharun P and I will deliver Animal Crakers to Stanley Hupfeld Elementary to thank the teacher whose students were part of Casady Positive Directions mentoring program.

Next week, Ellie's compassion for Oklahoma homeless will take YAC to deliver fleece blankets made at a YAC meeting for Positive Tomorrow's reading program.  Then, we will deliver placemats decorated by first and third graders at the YAC booth man-powered by Sharun, Safra, and Mariam during STUCO's Walk-A-Thon to the Children's Hospital Aikman End Zone.

In June, as I turn in the keys for the YAC Community Room with the "Leaving Giving Tree" purchased for Katherine's ICS Hope for the Holidays Drive, YAC will continue their "Pursuit of Happiness" journey for our Oklahoma City Community in need.  It has been an honor to serve at Casady since the year 2000.

I will continue my pursuit of happiness in Boston but I will be substituting at Casady when in OKC and will be looking forward to volunteering in ongoing Casady YAC Pursuit of Happiness experiences.

Global Youth Service Days 2018

Casady Service Learning is promoting the Students Rebuild Facing Difference Challenge around campus, at Oklahoma Centennial High School, and at Boys and Girls Club

30 Years of Youth Changing the World

In October 1988, YSA sent photographers out across the United States to capture images of “A Day in the Life of Youth Service” and the public was stunned at the depth and breadth of the energy, commitment, idealism, and creativity of children and youth-serving their communities. That awareness helped lead to the creation of AmeriCorps and an expansion of national and community service programs in schools, nonprofits, and youth organizations.
Over the last 30 years, as "A Day in the Life of Youth Service" became National Youth Service Day in 1990, grew to a three-day event in the '90s and expanded into Global Youth Service Day in 2000, the goal has never changed from the original one: "to document, promote, and celebrate young people making a difference." We're now sharing these stories in ways that we never could have imagined in 1988, and they continue to inspire us every single year.
Celebrities like the Backstreet Boys, Clay Aiken, Raven SymoneTaylor SwiftMiley Cyrus, and Miss America Teresa Scanlan have helped us call youth to serve. First Ladies Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama have each helped recognize young leaders. 
Of course, it's not just about the number of years. It's about the results you've achieved in those 30 years. Because of over 100,000 youth-led projects, the world is cleaner, safer, smarter, healthier, greener, and fairer. Youth are using their sparks and building their skills by leading ASAP by organizing Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy projects that are working towards achieving the Global Goals.

Adapted From
April 2018: Happy Earth Day
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  —Jane Goodall 

Earth Day is a time to reflect and be thankful for everything the Earth does for us. It is also a time to strengthen our relationship with nature, to give back, and to think of ways we can work to better support the Earth for future generations.
The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, a monumental day that is widely credited for launching the modern environmental movement. 20 million Americans from all walks of life participated in the very first Earth Day, and the passage of the Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act, and several other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.
This year, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to ending plastic pollution. “From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.” In response, Earth Day 2018 is committed to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitudes and behaviors surrounding plastics.

At the root of every Earth Day is the long-term goal of global sustainability. Every day, we make decisions about what natural minerals to use, how fast to use them, and what to do with them when we’re done. All of these decisions have a unique impact on the environment. The choices we make today, big or small, will impact the future. Therefore, our choices must ensure that social institutions, the economy, and the environment will be well-supported for future generations.
More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. While it would be nice if we all lived as if every day was Earth Day, this holiday serves as a friendly reminder each year, to respect the Earth and to show a little gratitude to Mother Nature.
What Can You Do on Earth Day

Change your consumption habits. Think critically about your consumption habits and be open to improvement. Sustainability begins with the recognition that all of us depend on a healthy environment to provide us with our basic human needs: air, water, food, and shelter. Challenge your ideas of wants and needs, recognizing that everything comes from nature-and will have to go back to nature at some point. Be mindful of the resources you consume, including electricity, water, food, and any other material goods that you purchase. Do your best to avoid unnecessary packaging, plastic water bottles, single-use cups, plates, and silverware, and all things disposable.
Examine your worldview and the worldviews of those around you. Consider knowledge, abilities, values, and behavior. How do these worldviews impact the way we live our lives and the way we treat our environment?
Connect with nature. Get outside! Get to know your local forest, ocean, freshwater, and urban outdoor areas and enjoy them for recreation. Get in the habit of noticing and enjoying nature all around you, whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or the country. Nature is all around us. Think about and reflect on the many ways that nature contributes to your well being.
Care for your local park or beach. Leave no trace! When you visit your local park or beach, leave it the same or better than you found it.
Speak out. Advocate for the conservation of endangered species and forest habitat.
Volunteer. Seek out programs that support sustainability and leadership in your community, and encourage others to do so too!