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Latest Blog Post

Splish Splash Clinic

Tyler Harmon, ZCHS junior and member of the Zionsville Swim Club, received a grant from National Child Awareness Month Youth Service Program in 2015.

NCAM YSA grants offer kids an opportunity to receive $1000 to combat critical issues facing youth and help make a lasting, positive impact in their community. Harmon teamed up with Little Star Center, Lauryn Parrish from Fisher Swim Club and Zionsville Aquatic Center and chose to host three swimming clinics for autistic kids on April 30th, May 14th and May 28th of 2016.

Over ten Zionsville Swim Club athletes volunteered to give a one on one lesson to the 10 autistic kids and focused the swimming lesson on water safety. In addition, they played water games, and had Chick-fil-a & cupcakes for lunch. The grant was used to pay for each autistic kid’ swim gear from Circle City Swimwear prior to the event.

Maria Hodge, mother of one kid in the program, wrote to Lauryn and Tyler:” I wanted to take a minute and thank you for the outstanding job that you, Tyler and all of the high school swimmers involved in the Splish Splash have done. We were very excited to meet all of you and my son had a great time. I really enjoyed watching the kids bond with their high schoolers. Everyone did such a fantastic job! Having the swim gear from Circle City Swim was an added and unexpected bonus that we really appreciate! To top it all off, being treated to the Chick-Fil-A dinner was the icing on the cake! Thank you for all that you are doing for these special little swimmers! This experience is awesome and we sincerely appreciate it!”

Nicole Johnson, another parent, wrote a few weeks after the Clinic that “The Splish Splash Clinic had a great impact on my son and it definitely built his confidence.  This past Saturday I took him swimming to a public pool and he was very active and daring.  Before he was timid and hung onto to me, but his time he was a different kid.  I just want to say thank you very much because I truly believe it helped my child.”

The Indiana High School Athletic Association posted the event pictures at the Champions Together (Facebook) and Champs Together (Twitter).

Volunteering with Givology

Summer is a great time to give back. That's why I started volunteering with Givology! Givology is a nonprofit that promotes education in the developing world by funding grassroots projects and student scholarships. Their motto is Give to Learn, Learn to Give. 
When I joined the team, I learned about projects like The Last Girl that helped children born to prostituted mothers go to school. I read updates from students like Neema Sesay, who talked her father out of marrying her after primary school. She is now in high school hoping to become a teacher. When students get an education, they succeed. I wanted to bring awareness to the importance of making education accessible to everyone, so I started blogging about various obstacles to education, like gender inequality, poverty, and low school quality.
When I write, my hope is that I can convey the world students in the developing world live in, and one of the best ways to do that is to tell stories. From a young age, I've been fascinated with storytelling. I grew up on the narratives of Romanians in my community who told me about their experiences in communist Romania. They told me about hiding paintings because art was a crime, struggling to get an education when school was hours away, and facing great danger to escape the borders, hoping to find opportunities. When people tell their stories, they give the world a glimpse into their world, and that's powerful.

My passion for stories is what drew me to Dreams That Could Be, an initiative to gather the stories of students all around the world. When I was introduced to Allison Zaucha, the photographer behind the project, I knew I wanted to help, so I volunteered to help with any writing I could do. I wrote about the project's partners to keep people updated and I look forward to helping more in the future! It was another way I could do what I love, write, while helping others, and that's what volunteering is all about. When we all volunteer and do what we're good at, we can change the world.

Top 10 Tools for Writing College Admission and Scholarship Essays

Top 10 Tools for Writing College Admission and Scholarship Essays

When you start applying for colleges and scholarships, you come to the realization that essay writing skills are more important than you ever thought. Before allowing you to attend a certain college, the admission board will look at your application, so you have to distinguish yourself as a candidate that has something more than a decent GPA. Without any exaggeration, the essay is a gate to your future.

If you want to make the process of writing less stressful and more successful, you’ll need to rely on the right tools at the right time. Take a look at this selection of 10 tools that will help you write better admission and scholarship papers.

  1. JCU – Writing and Math Skills Online

At the website of James Cook University, you will find detailed guides for the essay writing process. You can use these resources to learn how to write academic content and avoid plagiarism.

  1. Write My Essay

This custom writing service is your way out of trouble when you cannot write the perfect papers regardless of the efforts you put into the process. You can rely on real writers who will help you complete your application and scholarship papers, or get your own essays edited by professional editors.

  1. Vanderbilt University – The College Essay

Many universities share effective writing tips on their website. Vanderbilt University offers several articles that will help you understand what the admissions board members expect to see in students’ application papers.


This is a unique online community of writers, where they can share their work and receive tips and critiques from other writers. You can read other authors’ work to get inspired, or share your essays to get real feedback that will help you improve your style and technique.

  1. ThinkTankLearning – Enlighten Blog

At this website, you will find valuable tips and guides that will prepare you for the college admissions process. For example, you can learn how to write an application paper when you don’t know your major, how to put your personality on paper, and how to find the perfect college fit.

  1. Teen Ink – Today’s Best College Essays

This website publishes students’ papers on daily basis. If you read some of the featured content, you’ll learn how to distinguish good writing from mediocre style. You will probably find inspiration about your own admissions and scholarship essays at this page, but make sure not to copy the content; you need to come up with your own ideas.

  1. Evolution Writers – How to Write a Scholarship Essay

This guide has a specific goal to teach you how to write an extraordinary scholarship essay. It won’t take more than five minutes to read this article; it gets straight to the point and it helps you understand that the process of writing scholarship essays is not as daunting as it initially seems.

  1. Harvard College Writing Center

Harvard College provides useful writing resources at this page. The concise explanations will guide you through the essay writing process. For example, you can read detailed tips on how to read an assignment, how to develop the essay structure, how to construct a strong thesis, etc.

  1. Cornell College – Tips for Writing Essays for Scholarship and Fellowship Application

This guide, provided by Cornell College, will tell you what students are expected to present in their application essays. The straightforward tips are focused on content/organization and grammar/style.  

  1. How to Write a Scholarship Essay – Examples

This website brings the process of scholarship essay writing closer by including examples of great content written by real students. You will find samples of essays that answer common scholarship prompts, such as “Describe a major hurdle or obstacle you’ve had to overcome” or “Who has been the most influential person in your life?”

Don’t let the application papers discourage you; they are only a stage of the admissions process that every student needs to go through. With the 10 resources listed above, you will be able to tackle the challenge with success.    

Invest in Chess

Invest in Chess is a chess advocacy initiative—our goal is not only to teach, promote, and spread chess, but also to raise awareness of its numerous practical and educational benefits. I started Invest in Chess as a way of giving back to the surrounding community after I realized how much I had gained from playing chess and learning the sport.

The first project we completed was a weekly chess program hosted at a local library in Cleveland last summer—not only did this give chess players from across Northeast Ohio the chance to foster their skills in a non-competitive setting, it was also an environment where beginners were able to learn and solidify their fundamental knowledge of chess.

After the completion of our program, we promoted the Cleveland Scholastic Open, a huge initiative that we have been involved with for two years (we co-hosted the tournament last year), by writing articles/press releases and then publicizing the event through social media and various news outlets. Through our two-year involvement with the Cleveland Scholastic Open, we have engaged over 200 children!

Additionally, in an effort to raise awareness of chess, Invest in Chess has interviewed a plethora of National and International Chess Masters and consequently gained support from them for the work we’re doing.

Recently, we began our outreach to the community in Chicago by going to a Chicago Public School (Andrew Carnegie Elementary School) to teach chess and facilitate the students’ learning of an interdisciplinary chess curriculum that has been instituted in the school. Additionally, we helped develop the chess club at the school by teaching students key concepts such as chess principles and opening notation—all of which is preparation for them to attend their first tournament. To date, we have provided instruction to approximately 100 children here. For our service, the Principal recognized us at the school’s first ever community awards banquet.

After seeing the ways that we were able to help this one school, I began to wonder how many other schools are in similar situations—how many other schools could use help. For this reason, Invest in Chess has recently developed an ambassador program to make it possible for schools around the country to receive quality chess instruction from qualified and passionate individuals. Stay tuned!

Renovating a Home

On Valentine’s Day, Levi Haros along with The Hispanic Business Students Association at Arizona State University volunteered with Habitat For Humanity.  Levi and HBSA renovated a house in Casa Grande, Arizona for a woman and her family in need.  The organization was split into different teams.  While one team laid down protection in the newly installed wood floors, other members scalped the backyard of any weeds, and lastly, others leveled the front yard and poured new rocks in the front yard.  Within six hours, The Hispanic Business Students Association at Arizona State University transformed the bare house into a home ready to move in!  

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit that was founded 1976 by the Fuller family. The organization is committed to eradicate the issue of poverty housing.  The organization renovates old houses and builds new buildings in urban areas. Within the nonprofit, there are a number of programs such as: A Brush of Kindness, Neighborhood Revitalization, & Disaster Response.  The houses that they build are modestly-sized and built to reflect the local culture.  

The Hispanic Business Students Association is committed to build students at Arizona State University personally, professionally, and academically.  The organization regularly volunteers to build its community through service projects.