SPOTLIGHT!

One of Volunteen’s unique features is the SPOTLIGHT! The SPOTLIGHT!, located on the website of Volunteens.com, features articles about special teen volunteers who make a value-added contribution to their community through their volunteer efforts.

In the spring, Volunteens will bestow a special “Volunteens SPOTLIGHT Award” to a teen volunteer who exemplifies this community service spirit, in recognition of his or her hard work and dedication. Beginning January 2013 Volunteens.com will accept applications from students for this distinguished award.

PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

SPOTLIGHT AWARD FOR 2013 – Bobby Rauch

giving lax pic 2-1.00_jpg_srzBobby Rauch is a 12th grader at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Fl.  Bobby is the founder of a non for profit organization called Giving Lax.  It is an organization dedicated to bringing lacrosse to underprivileged youth in South Florida. Giving Lax collects new and used lacrosse equipment to outfit the children with all necessary protective gear. Once the organization has collected enough equipment, they begin their instructional lacrosse clinics at various after-school centers. These centers include Youth Activity Center, Florence Fuller East, Florence Fuller West, Boys and Girls Club of Delray Beach, and in Dominical, Costa Rica.  Bobby has been featured on channel 25 WPBF News, Inside Lacrosse, Florida Lacrosse News, the Sun Sentinel, and much more!  For the past year Bobby has received numerous volunteers through volunteens.  We hope that Bobby continues his success in the community through 2014!

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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

JOACHIM OVER & BRYAN LUDWIG

JOACHIM OVER & BRYAN LUDWIG

Joachim Over (left) and Bryan Ludwig (right) were students at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton (class of 2002) when they appeared in our SPOTLIGHT.

Joachim and Bryan are involved in a community service project known as “Students Teach Students — A Smoking Prevention Program.” This program was created by the American Lung Association of Southeast Florida.

Along with other students from Saint Andrews School, Bryan and Joachim teach lower school students about the dangers of smoking and using tobacco products. They furthered their involvement in the community by bringing this program to day camps in the Palm Beach County area.

A typical presentation involves two trained high school students who present the STS program to children aged 10 – 12. “We have taught groups ranging in size from 15 – 120 students,” says Bryan. A typical presentation includes using visual aids as well as having students participate in group activities. “Students particularly enjoy ‘Smoking Sam,’ a puppet that ‘smokes’ a cigarette and displays the amount of tar given off,” explains Bryan.

“We enjoy being involved in the STS program because we get to have a hands-on involvement with younger children. We hope that our teaching will cause someone to think twice before using any tobacco products,” Joachim explains. “We especially like teaching this because we know the students can better relate to us because of our age,” he adds. “They look to us as role models. Since we don’t smoke, they realize they don’t have to either.”

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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

TAMIKA STOKES

TAMIKA STOKES

Tamika was a student at Saint Andrew’s School (class of 2001) when she became one of our SPOTLIGHT teens.

Tamika volunteered as a pre-school teacher for 9 hours a day, five days a week. She loves to work with children, and she loves to teach. The teaching opportunity gave Tamika 225 hours of community service while she was doing something she enjoyed.

Not only did she earn many hours of community service, but she also learned a lot about herself. “I have learned to be patient with others and to give my all in helping others,” she said. “I have also learned that I really like teaching little kids.” Tamika recommends this activity to other teens who love working with children. Because of this experience, Tamika realized that some day she would love to be a pediatrician or an elementary school teacher.

Tamika’s involvement in her community does not end with teaching. She also participates in Walk-a-thons, works at Dr. Kawa Dentistry, involves herself with food drives, dedicates her time to Operation Smile, and enjoys being a member of the International Club. Tamika is on the varsity volleyball team at her school as well.
“I would love to make a difference and to help others,” Tamika said.

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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

CONSTANCE METROPULOS

CONSTANCE METROPULOS

Constance Metropulos was an 18-year-old student at
St. Andrew’s School when she was selected as our first Volunteen “Spotlight” for the 2003-2004 school year.

Constance founded the “Strokes for Success” after-school swim program for young children. Here in South Florida, there are pools everywhere, and young children must be taught to swim. After reading and hearing about elementary school age drowning victims, Constance felt that she could make a difference in her community, and save lives at the same time.

“Strokes for Success” consists of 2 twelve week sessions. The students participate for 1 hour a week. They learn to love the water, how to be safe and careful around a pool, and how to swim! Constance says: ”Founding, implementing, and instructing this program has made me forever grateful for the blessings that have been given me.” She believes that helping younger children to succeed in any aspect of their lives can be beneficial. She encourages other teens to become involved. Donations of bathing suits, and any offers of sponsorship would be greatly appreciated.

Constance is also involved in the Greek Orthodox Youth of America, where she finds many new ways to serve her neighborhood and her community. She serves on the Community Service Board at her high school, and is the President of the Senior class. She is to be commended for her contribution to her school, her neighborhood, and her community. “ Congratulations Constance, you’ve earned the spotlight!”

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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

Marissa Gittelman

Marissa Gittelman

When chosen as a VolunTeens Spotlight, Marissa Gittelman was an 11th grade student at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale. Her younger sister, Katrina, was a 9th grader at the same school. Throughout high school, they have volunteered their time to lead a local chapter of the Best Buddies organization. Best Buddies is a program that was developed to enrich the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by “buddying” them up with
volunteers and giving them an opportunity for a friendship. Gathering teens from their school and local areas, they have a committed group of students who dedicate their time to helping disabled people.

This program not only has been inspiring for them, but has also taught them the value of giving back to their community. We interviewed Marissa and some of the other VolunTeens in the Best Buddies program, and they shared their thoughts with us:

“At my lower school, there was a day devoted to doing services for the community. They brought Best Buddies as one of the programs for the day and got an enthusiastic response. Best Buddies became a yearly program where the students and the Buddies would have lunch, cookies, soda, clowns and smiles all around. We began to make connections with those who would come back year after year,” said Marissa.

“My younger sister, Katrina, and I took on Best Buddies as our own community service project two years ago. She promised to continue the program on a monthly basis and I decided that I would try to recruit people from Pine Crest to start a chapter there,” continued Marissa. During the school year Pine Crest now sponsors Best Buddies on one Saturday each month. “We do different projects each time. Sometimes we make picture frames so that they can carry the group picture with them, or we make paper rings to decorate their rooms, and sometimes we read to them or they read to us,” said Marissa.

“The one-on-one interaction and the opportunity to enhance the lives of my Buddies is the best part of the experience,” said devoted VolunTeen member Natasha Keynejad. She remembered, “The moment I felt most connected to my Buddy is when I made her laugh.” “I’ve learned that everyone needs a friend and that our Best Buddies deserve to be treated as equals,” said Zack Purdo, another committed VolunTeen. “The greatest part of working with the Buddies is making them feel comfortable and making them feel good about who they are,” added Purdo. In closing, Marissa remarked, “we create our memorable bonds through laughter, song, and lots of hugs.”

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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

Marcello Sachs

Marcello Sachs was selected as a VolunTeens Spotlight when he was a senior at St. Andrews School in Boca Raton. He has spent his high school career volunteering in different areas, but his biggest impact on the community has been through his artistic creations. As a volunteer counselor for the International Museum of Cartoon Art’s summer camp, he was able to work with young children and teach them art.
As an artist, Marcello says he “finds release in art, it’s an outlet to express emotions, and in between work loads, it’s a great break.” His most impressive undertaking has been the mural he designed and painted at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center in West Palm Beach. His mom attends meetings at the detention center and noticed there was a blank wall in the reaction room. When Marcello heard about it, he was more than excited to have a new project! He selected an inspiring theme for the mural, super heroes. After talking with the kids at the detention center about what kind of artwork they would like, he decided it was the perfect idea. Not only are these fictitious characters role models, the kids love the fantasy that is

associated with them. During the months he spent creating the mural, he worked with the kids to help them learn to paint. He even saved a section of the mural for the children to paint themselves. Not only is the wall more decorative now, but he hopes that it will be a reminder for the children of the good inside of people – that you can become a hero if you want it enough

 
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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

Andrew Silverman

Andrew Silverman was a ninth-grade student at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he was chosen to be in our SPOTLIGHT! Below is the article that appeared at that time.His many volunteer activities have earned him an honored place as the first “SPOTLIGHT” on VolunTeens.com for 2008!Andrew is involved as an “ambassador” to the Intergenerational Orchestra of Florida, as a student mentor and program leader for Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale, and as a member of the Intergenerational Community Service Council of Boca’s Promise.
In the photo to the left, Andrew is seated beside Lorraine Marks next to the Intergenerational Orchestra of Florida sign, getting ready to play in a concert for The Simon Youth Foundation. Lorraine Marks is the Conductor/Founder of FLIOA :whose mission is to bridge the generation gap with music and musical performances. The unique environment of FLIOA encourages, nurtures, and promotes closer relationships between the generations.
The ages of the musicians range from seven to ninety-two years of age. Andrew Silverman is an Ambassador to the (FLIOA). In addition, he has established an outreach program for “Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale” students to receive music lessons, and musical instruments at no charge through the generosity of FLIOA.As part of this program, Andrew teaches strings to students of Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale. Andrew also performs with the Full Symphony Orchestra for various community functions
In the photo to the left, Andrew is standing beside Abena Osei, Program Director for Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale during the Kick-Off Event in September 2007 at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale.
Breakthrough, Ft. Lauderdale was founded in 2004 as a six-year, year-round, academically intense study-skills enrichment based program that works with middle school students until they graduate and head off to college. It is part of a national movement created to help end the educational gap in America. Andrew is the Coordinator of Special Programs for Breakthrough Ft. Lauderdale. He has organized a workshop to encourage service learning/giving back community service for the students of Breakthrough. In addition, Andrew is working to bring speakers to an all-day conference in February 2008 for the parents of students in the Breakthrough program to support and empower them.
In this photo, Andrew is shaking hands with the past student president of Boca Raton’s Promise, The Aliance For Youth. Boca Raton’s Promise is an arm of America’s Promise, a national organization started by Alma and Colin Powell. It is a volunteer, not-for profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth.Under the guidance and leadership of Rita Thrasher, Executive Director of Boca Raton’s Promise, the Intergenerational Community Service Council members meet monthly to create community-based service learning opportunities throughout the year. Andrew Silverman has been a member of the Intergenerational Community Service Council, participating in community based projects such as painting a house that was damaged during hurricane season, planning sessions with community leaders to develop community-based service learning projects for local schools, and many other activities.
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PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS!

Samantha Frenchman

Samantha Frenchman

CONGRATULATIONS: SAMANTHA FRENCHMAN!
She has been chosen to be our
“VolunTeens Spotlight”

Samantha Frenchman, past President of VolunTeens.com has been presented with an “Outstanding Service” award by Boca Raton’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. The award was presented by Catherine Vanden Broeck, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Boca Raton and a member of Boca Raton’s Promise Service Advisory. More than 140 people attended the awards event at which Samantha was praised for her work in managing the service website for youth, VolunTeens.com.

Boca Raton’s Promise is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth in the greater Boca Raton area by providing them with five fundamental resources needed to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.

For more information on Boca’s Promise, please visit their website: bocaratonspromise.org.

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My name is Alex Heatzig, and I am the President of VolunTeens. I am a rising Senior at Saint Andrew's High School in Boca Raton, Florida, Florida. I am excited about making this website more useful than ever! If you are visiting this website from outside the Palm Beach and Broward County that we are currently located in and would like to make a difference in your community, contact me for a great opportunity!
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