Volunteers lead the way at Becker Middle School, Las Vegas, NV

We were inspired to learn about the leadership and sense of community that exists at Becker Middle School. Our phone interview with a trio of incredible middle schoolers proved once again, that kindness and generosity are among the many amazing traits that middle schoolers possess.

Listen to the trio of Becker Middle Schoolers talk about their projects.

I love to participate in community service projects.  From helping out with a special needs cheer team, to being apart of the National Junior Honor Society at Becker MS, I love to make a difference in my community.  Recently a friend and I have completed a grant that was accepted.  We were thrilled and ecstatic over what we accomplished.  Personally, I couldn’t believe we had done so much, and to see it play out was amazing.

With the money we received we purchased four kindles and various boardgames to become senior citizens’ companions. We have planned to visit the center every other Saturday to talk, read, and play board games with them.  The goal in mind is to make a difference to them and the community. I hope that our project is strong enough to show that kids are just as capable to make a difference.

So far, the experience has been astounding.  The process we went through to receive the grant felt endless, but in the end payed off.  I am so happy with what we accomplished and what we still need to do. The experience that this has provided me is priceless, and I enjoyed every second of it.

— Adin Tarr

My role in Helping Hands began on a sunny day.  Our National Junior Honor Society meeting had just ended, and Ms. Johnson had asked me if I was interested in trying to receive a grant to help our community.  I agreed, and my small team of five began to brainstorm.  We thought of different ways to help our community, but the idea that we liked the best was helping out senior citizens.  Once this idea was in our heads, there was nothing that could stop us.  Though some of the deadlines seemed to be so close, we always managed to pull the team together and get everyone to chip in and help finish our project on time.  When the day of the presentation began, we were terrified.  Our Prezi didn’t work, and so we had to do the whole presentation by our notecards!

Close to a month later, we got the letter that the Youth Neighborhood Association Partnership Program (YNAPP) had decided to give us all the money we asked for.  It was the most exciting part of my life!  The next few weeks went by with a blur, filled with planning and figuring out who could drive us there.  Finally, we had it all figured out, or so we thought.  A week later, we found out that Atria Seville no longer needed our assistance.  We searched everywhere for another place to volunteer, and we found The Las Vegas Adult Day Care Center.  They were happy to have us read to seniors there, and we were happy to volunteer there.  We are beginning on March 10th and will be volunteering every other Saturday to read to seniors.

Though the road to get to where we are now was difficult, it was well worth it.  I am so proud of the team, and thank them for all that they have done.  I think this experience taught all of our team that we were capable of doing almost everything, and I hope it teaches other teens out there the same thing.

–Isabella Riezler

Thanksgiving, a holiday celebrated by almost everyone in America. Think about your Thanksgivings. You’re probably with your family, sitting at a table, stuffing your faces with food. Now, imagine that being taken away because it’s been a tough month for your parents. You can’t do it? Neither could I. Because of this, I decided to take control over the Thanksgiving Food Drive at Becker Middle School this fall.

The food drive was a very simple concept- collect as much canned food from the families at the school as possible. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without such an amazing team working with me. They made big posters advertising what we needed and, for the two weeks of the drive, campaigned their hearts out, raising awareness of the cause. We distributed cardboard boxes to every classroom in the school, and encouraged every student to donate, even if only one can, to the cause. We announced to the school that, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, the first period class with the most donations would win a pumpkin pie party.

At the end of the two weeks, my team spread out through the school, collecting the boxes. Each person was assigned certain rooms. This was because I wanted to make sure every donation made it to someone else’s table!

Let me just tell you, starting out, I had no idea how massive the wave of donations would be. I was shocked when I was notified that people actually had to team up in order to lift the heavy boxes. It floored me that people gave so much.

It really touches and changes a person to see a group of people come together to help. It brings you back down to Earth to walk into a classroom to collect what you expected to be three or four cans, and see a box and two trash bags overflowing with donations. (Thanks, Mrs. Ross!).

I didn’t do this project because I wanted to be in charge, or because it was required. I did it because of my understanding that, in the end, we’re all human. We were put on this planet in equality, and we need to remember it doesn’t take much to make a memory. This was an amazing experience, and I look forward to more in the future!

— Kimber Cook

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