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The Servie Challenge

The popularity of the selfie is phenominal.  Selfies are the most well recognized trend among social media users, but they paint an incomplete picture of their subjects.

The Servie Challenge launched by VolunTEEN Nation Ambassador Kate Parchman is designed to allow social media users to show a more complete picture of themselves.  Servies are images of individuals/groups engaging in acts of service to others and posted on social media sites with the #serviechallenge.

Servies do the following:

1. Serives show a more complete picture of an individual, going beyond physical appearance to highlight interests, talents, character and dedication.

2. Servies share ideas for service opportunities. Many willing individuals wish to serve but do not know what groups or organizations are in need of assistance.  Also, first time volunteers may wish to share the experience with a friend, and servies can help volunteers to connect and coordinate efforts, leading to an increase in volunteer support for the organization and a more fulfilling experience for the volunteers.

3. Servies raise awareness, highlighting issues, needs and solutions to problems in our local communities and around the world.

4. Servies inspire others and impact communities:  Servies show needs being met, lives being improved and communities changing for the better.

5. The Servie Challenge is a great way to show, share and increase your impact on the world.   What you need to do for the Servie Challenge is post servies  to your profiles and then challenge other social media users to do the same.  Servies can change the world, but you have to take the first step. 

Post your servies with #serviechallenge.

Raise.Me to an Affordable Education

Today, college can seem like a money vacuum. With tuition rising, it seems impossible to go to college and come out debt free. The website www.Raise.Me is working to fight against graduates in debt by awarding college scholarship money to you every time you accomplish a small goal during high school, like getting an “A” in a class or doing one hour of community service.

With a growing list of participating colleges, www.Raise.Me has been rewarding hard-working students for everything from getting a “B” in a class to being involved in after-school activities. Students can earn hundreds of dollars for doing what they love. The best part? There is no competition. This isn’t a scholarship students must write an essay for or one where they’re competing for a set amount of money. This is a program that rewards 100% of students for every goal they accomplish. “Any high school student can sign up, and receive money each time they achieve a small goal in high school,” said Shagran Hassan, Vice President of Raise.Me. With over 20 goals that students can complete, students can get thousands of dollars for their education. This also doesn’t mean that the scholarships provided are for just the Valedictorians or Salutatorians. 

Absolutely anyone can get money. www.Raise.Me is also completely user friendly. Students just sign up and then fill in the blanks. After you fill in a few lines, colleges instantly award you scholarship money based on each of your achievements. This money must be used at the specific 

college that is giving the student money; with the growing list of participating colleges at www.Raise.Me it is likely there will be one that is best for you. “They [colleges] are really a mix. Some are large public colleges like Penn State and University of Central Florida, which are two of the five largest public colleges in the United States. Then there are also some really good private colleges like DePaul University, and liberal arts colleges like Oberlin College.” There are colleges from everywhere. 

With this easy to use site and several dozen college partners, students can feel better about going to college and getting a degree without worrying about how much debt awaits them. Every single goal, whether it is one “A” in a class or two hours of volunteer work gets students closers to a more affordable future. If you want to sign up or know more about www.Raise.Me, follow this link to their website. As a member myself, I can say it is definitely worth your time.

How Youth Can Support the Ferguson-Florissant Community

St. Louis is our home. We have gone to clean up the streets of Ferguson and volunteered at the Ferguson Library offering free educational programs while the Ferguson-Florissant and Jennings School Districts remained closed. Youth can and do make an impact. One of our major goals is to inspire more young people to see themselves as positive changemakers and take action to improve communities. We will provide funding to youth that are making a difference.

Please submit your ideas. Below please find some examples.

1. Register voters and encourage young voters to vote
2. Teach children the art of peaceful conflict resolution
3. Integrate the arts in your community and schools to explore and promote non-violence
4. Plant a community or school garden growing produce to donate to local food banks
5. Serve on committees and task forces working to promote safer neighborhoods, schools, college campuses and communities.
6. Get involved in your community-Many non-profits, like food banks operate on shoestring budgets, cover vast geographic areas, and are struggling to keep up with the demand for their services. Youth can utilize http://www.volunTEENnation.org to find volunteer opportunities in their region. 

Please submit your ideas to promote peace in the St. Louis Metropolitan community and the greater world. We plan to fund numerous youth-led projects in our community. Contact us if you have questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Submit your ideas on how we can promote peace in the St. Louis Metropolitan community and the greater world: http://bit.ly/peaceinferg

Keds Brave Life Summit

It has been three days since I attended the Keds Brave Life Summit and my head and my heart are still swirling. Arriving in New York, I had no idea what to expect from the experience and I felt tings of nervousness and gratitude for the experience.

The plane ride from Georgia to New York gave me some time to think. I thought about my future as late as what I would do after retirement or would I be one of those workers who never retired and my future as near as the summit and what I hoped to get out of the experience. I even thought about the distant past of three years ago when I had last been in New York shortly after my mother passed away and the more recent past of when I almost did not send in an application for the summit because I did not think that I would get accepted. 

A lot had changed with this time and I am sure that a lot more will change in the future. I took away so many things from the summit, but my biggest lesson had to me my realization that all the tools that I needed to succeed were inside me. We hear speakers all the time tell us all time the old cliché of how we are in charge of our destiny and how we are the ones who can change the world. I can guess that many of us do not believe this although this is what we are taught and that is the decision we make.

After the summit, I decided to take this advice and apply it to all that I do. I decided to not be the one who gets in my own way. I decided to be brave.

Splish Splash Swim Clinic

I am a high school swimmer in Indiana and a VolunTEEN Nation Ambassador. On Saturday, August 9th, I organized a swim clinic for youth on the Autism spectrum and youth with Down syndrome. It was a blast! We had ten special Olympic athletes and ten volunteer swim instructors. We played water games and had pizza and cupcakes for lunch. In the end, the smile on everyone’s face during the event justified the bumpy road we traveled to make this event happen. I learned three important things from planning this service project.

1. Be persistent! When planning a project, remember there is always a solution to problem even if it takes lots of time to find one! At many points during the project planning process, I was ready to cancel the event several times due to various issues. For example, when I was looking for a pool manager to supervise the clinic, I had a tough time finding someone since this project was two days before the start of school. I was nervous and started to worry. After several discussions with the pool facility director, we decided to ask one of the swim instructors to act as the pool manager. Problem solved! The event occurred without a hitch.

2. Have fun at your service project! Both the volunteers and youth had an amazing time during the clinic. During the clinic, I worked with a girl named Maggie. I witnessed so many smiles on her face as we swam laps together. Her excitement during the clinic was certainly contagious.

3. Social media is powerful! VolunTEEN Nation helped us promote the event and gather volunteers and youth attendees. Lee Lonzo from IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) came to the event and posted lots of photos from the clinic on Twitter and Facebook. These photos were shared by our swim club and other related organizations.

This swim clinic offered so much to both the Special Olympic swimmers and volunteers. I certainly want to plan another swim clinic. There are a lot of big challenges around the world. To make my community a better place, I want to make an impact using my skill sets and interests.