NEW YORK (Aug. 7, 2012) – After a nationwide search, generationOn, the youth enterprise of Points of Light, brought together 14 young people from across the nation who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their commitment to philanthropy to form the 2012-2014 generationOn Youth Advisory Council, the second Council to serve since generationOn launched in October 2010. These young leaders embody generationOn’s vision of developing young people into creative problem-solvers, allowing them to experience their power and potential to become global leaders through service in their communities.
“This select group of young leaders has demonstrated a remarkable drive and commitment to create a better world through community service,” said Concetta Bencivenga, executive director of generationOn. “GenerationOn has proudly assembled the greatest group of young people in the country to lead by example as they continue to make their mark on the world and inspire others to do the same.”
Introducing the 2012-2014 generationOn Youth Advisory Council (complete bios and stories on the Youth Advisory Council available by request):
- Tiffani Alexander (age 14) Covington, Ga. - founder of Butterflies, Beetles and Bees, Oh My!, a bug club she runs in partnership with the Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale program to teach children about the caring and nurturing of small insects and relating it to the treatment of human beings
- Marc Berson (age 16), Tampa, Fla. - president of Café Freedom, a student organization dedicated to mobilizing youth to address critical community-wide issues
- Tyler Bleuel (age 14), Stamford, Conn. - created a program called A Few Good MENtors to provide positive male role models for children living in battered women’s and children’s shelters in the boroughs of New York City
- Nayah Boucaud (age 14), Miami, Fla. - started Project FLVS (Florida Virtual School), focusing on teacher acknowledgement and appreciation and demonstrating the importance of education to local communities
- Cole Ettingoff (age 16), Memphis, Tenn. - coordinates a mentoring program benefitting more than 250 students and has led students from 13 area schools in packaging 56,000 meals for a local food bank
- Calla Gilson (age 16), Delta, Ohio – founding member of Toledo UCrew, which engages teens in community service projects including advocacy for local migrant workers
- Aulona Graham-Simms (age 13), Macon, Ga. - organizer of Kids for Change: Nourishing Minds, Battling Hunger, mobilizing youth to become involved in civic engagement
- Kelsey Leeper (age 16), Olympia, Wash. - created the Summit for Advocating Youth Interest (SAY IT) which will act as the foundation for a youth network in Washington state
- Rachel Ley (age 15), Stevens Point, Wis. - founder of a program called Literacy for Little Ones, which provides newborn babies with book packages, encouraging their parents to read to them on a daily basis
- Zachary Odegard (age 16), Dallas, Ore. - founder of Links of Love 2 Chains of Hope, a nonprofit that organizes youth in service with more than 140 members
- Lance Oppenheim (age 16), Southwest Ranches, Fla. - president of The Opp-Guide, which helps high school students find volunteer opportunities in their communities, and now includes a mobile app for the iPhone and iPad and also creates awareness of social issues through documentary film making
- Rachel Shuster (age 16), Dix Hills, N.Y, - founder of Kids Care HHH (Half Hollow Hills), a local generationOn Kids Care Club, which engages youth in dozens of service projects in both her community and globally
- Tharon Trujillo (age 15), Plumas Lake, Calif. - started Whooz Solutions when he was 10 years old and invented a new helicopter design to help people in disaster areas
- Ruchita Zaparde (age 15), Plainsboro, N.J. – started Sew a Future to provide sewing machines to widows with young children in India so they can earn a living and send their children to school
The 2012-2014 generationOn Youth Advisory Council members gathered for a five-day leadership development training in New York City where they shared their stories and took part in team building and service project planning activities. During their time in New York, they rang the NASDAQ closing bell on Friday, Aug. 3 and conducted two service projects – cleaning and restoring woodlands at Riverside Park and painting a mural for a local firehouse. Come September, their first collective service project will be in honor of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance so, in preparation, the group also toured the 9/11 Memorial. Youth Advisory Council members are selected because they have taken action to effect positive change within their community through volunteerism and service.
During their two-year term, the new council will act as advisors and ambassadors to generationOn, and conduct 28 service projects during key moments throughout the year that are anticipated to impact approximately 10,000 people.
This summer, generationOn empowered kids all over the country to use their time off from school to take action, make their mark and become heroes in their own communities, just like the Youth Advisory Council did, through “The World Needs More Community Action Heroes" campaign.
According to the report, Growing to Greatness, 94 percent of U.S. youth, age 8 to 21, indicate they want to be involved in making the world a better place. As part of the “World Needs More Community Action Heroes” campaign this summer, so far more than 10,801 kids across the country participated in service projects relating to animals, literacy, health, emergency preparedness, environment, homelessness, hunger and the military and shared their stories on the Action Heroes website at https://CommunityActionHeroes.generationOn.org.
“Kids today want to do good and many of them are already on their way to becoming great change makers,” said Bencivenga. “We at generationOn will continue to encourage those kids who are already making a difference, and empower others to get involved with the resources and opportunities to transform themselves and their communities through service.”
GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. As Points of Light’s youth service enterprise, generationOn inspires, equips, and mobilizes youth to take action through generationOn service clubs, schools, youth organizations, campaigns and youth leadership initiatives. It also provides tools and resources to youth, families and educators to help kids change the world and themselves through service. To learn more about how to get involved, visit www.generationOn.org.
About Points of Light
Points of Light is the leading volunteer organization with more than 20 years of history and a bipartisan presidential legacy. Their mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. Points of Light connects people to their power to make a meaningful difference by providing access to tools, resources and opportunities to help volunteers use their time, talent, voice and money to meet the critical needs of our communities. Points of Light is organized into three divisions: Programs, Civic Incubator and Action Networks, which include HandsOn Network, the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the country and around the world; generationOn, the youth service movement that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world; AmeriCorps Alums, the national service alumni network that activates the next generation of service leaders; and Points of Light Corporate Institute, which enables companies to engage their employees and customers in service. For more information, visit www.pointsoflight.org.