Christine, a graduate of Cypress Lake High School, has logged over 600 community service hours in the last four years. While she has volunteered for numerous well-established programs and organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, and Special Olympics, she is most proud of her work in spearheading a local version of The Sparkle Effect, a program that integrates students with disabilities into cheerleading and dance squads.
Sara, a graduate of South Fort Myers High School, fell in love with volunteering as a thirteen-year-old junior counselor at a local elementary school. One year later, she became involved in Hope Hospice, and has since spent her summers bringing happiness and laughter to terminally ill patients during their darkest days.
Christina, a graduate of Estero High School, spent her final year in high school as president of the Student Government Association, a position she used to coordinate fundraisers that generated enough money to provide Christmas presents for over 200 underprivileged elementary school students. As Chairperson of EHS’s Interact Club, Christina used social media to organize and execute a school-wide “Pink Out” for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She says her volunteering experiences have taught her valuable lessons and life skills that prepare her for the future.
Martin, a graduate of Cypress Lake Middle School, believes that volunteerism is a “global mission” that depends on the inspiration of each new generation. He’s doing his part here in Southwest Florida by ringing bells for the Salvation Army, donating food to local charities, and playing music for the sick and elderly as part of a quartette that travels to area hospitals and nursing homes. Martin strives to be a constant source of help to those around him, devoting spare moments throughout the day to assisting neighbors, classmates, and teachers. “There will always be work that needs to be done,” Martin says.
Tyroncia, a graduate of Mariner High School, sees the importance of people coming together to make a difference. She was one of many volunteers who showed up on Christmas Eve for a Meals of Hope event that resulted in over half a million meals being packaged for distribution to needy families throughout Southwest Florida. She has also given her time to Pasta for Pennies and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On Sunday mornings, she teaches preschoolers at New Life Assembly of God in Lehigh Acres. Her mission is “to show love and compassion to children and families that may not be seeing it otherwise.”
Yevheniya, a graduate of Gulf Middle School, has worked with her school’s Builders Club (a division of Kiwanis International) to raise funds for Pasta for Pennies and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As a member of the National Junior Honor Society, she participated in food and toy drives during the holidays and prepared care packages for the troops overseas. On weekends, she volunteers at the Imaginarium Science Center, where she looks after toddlers and turtles alike. She recently joined the Red Cross and is looking forward to future projects. “I just love to make people happy,” Yevheniya says.
Chenelle, a graduate of Riverdale High School, has logged over 700 volunteer hours throughout her high school career. She has impacted many lives as a Children’s Ministry Leader at New Life Church, FHSAA student committee member, and volunteer at River Hall Elementary school. The lion’s share of her service has been spent following in her mother’s footsteps, working with Alzheimer’s patients. Chenelle initiated and directed her own art therapy project, “Painting One Memory at a Time,” designed to help patients connect with lost memories through the creative process. The overwhelming success of this program has inspired her to devote her life to helping those who need it the most.
Samuel, a graduate of Cape Coral High School, believes that building strong communities is difficult but crucial work that depends on passionate, courageous individuals who are willing to make a difference. He volunteered as an umpire and coach at the Cape Coral Little League fields, and earned the title of Youth Elder at his church, a position which exposed him to a wide range of mission work, outreach programs, food drives, and other service opportunities. Moreover, he has served as mentor to a group of over 60 middle and high school students, to whom he passed on the important values of charity, integrity, service, and community.