Daily Point of Light # 2324 Dec 31, 2002

Austuny Jackson is a senior at Las Vegas High School. He is compassionate and cares for others, which is evident in his profound contributions to his school and the Las Vegas community.

Austuny served as Chairman for “Be a PAL Community Service Day” at Las Vegas High School (LVHS). He contacted a wide array of non-profit agencies and volunteered the services of about 140 juniors and seniors who are members of the PAL Program at LVHS, a one-of-a-kind Schools-to-Careers approach to secondary education.

On Tuesday, November 2Oth, (Tuesday before Thanksgiving), the students scattered to twenty-one different non-profit agencies for a day of service. The students completed every job one can imagine. They did cleaning, cooking, moving boxes and furniture, shining windows, sorting canned food as well as packing clothing, landscaping, and other duties. The participating organizations included: Aid for AIDS of Nevada; Alzheimer’s Association; American Cancer Society; American Red Cross; Boys & Girls Clubs; Community Food Bank; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Jewish Family Service; Las Vegas Rescue Mission; MASH Village; Muscular Dystrophy Association; Nevada Paralyzed Veterans of America; Nike House; Safe House; Second Time Around Thrift Store; Shade Tree; St. Jude’s Ranch for Children; St. Vincent Dining Room; and YMCA.

This particular day was an overwhelming success due to Austuny’s preparation, commitment, action and initiative: “Be a PAL Community Service Day” was a Herculean undertaking. Austuny was in charge of the massive event from start to finish. This entailed arranging for 140 students to report to 21 different work sites on the same day.

In society today, teenagers get a “bad rap.” The media is quick to publicize negative teen images: gangs, drugs, and guns. Austuny does not agree. He discussed the positive impact of the “Be a PAL Community Service Day” program on Good Morning Las Vegas on Fox 5 with Lillian McMorris. Channel 3 also covered the event. Austuny highlighted the giving nature of teenagers, one that is often ignored and underreported.

The students that participated with Austuny received an information sheet, which summarizes the impact of Austuny’s efforts. The “Be a PAL Community Service Day” is a time for youth to give back to the community that has given them so much. The teens are able to look at others and become thankful for all that they have. In addition, the teenagers are able to contribute to the well being of the community while helping others who are experiencing difficult times. Though this program is a huge undertaking for Austuny, it helps nonprofit agencies that work 365 days a year helping others.

In addition to this overwhelming undertaking, Austuny has served as an officer in Key Club (a student organization dedicated to community service), fed the homeless on many occasions through his church, and volunteered to officiate a local elementary school field day.