Jonathan Paoletti has organized community projects since he was in grade school, long before it became a recognizable event. All fall he would collect blankets, shoes, and coats and then deliver them on Christmas Eve to the homeless, along with food. He then started to become involved in other’s service events. As he continued to mature, Jonathan became concerned with the plight of Veterans. He saw that they fought for our freedom, but they were being forgotten and unappreciated.
Jonathan began writing letters of remembrance. He started locally initially, but it has become a national campaign. Jonathan presented letters to posts in his community, local and major papers, state and government officials and the National Veteran’s Headquarters. He reads his speeches and letters at Memorial Day events to honor the men and women and let them know they have not been forgotten. Moreover, Jonathan has provided the VA hospital residents with personal visits and items that they need. His task has taken many hours of letter writing, meeting with people and businesses in the community and soliciting companies to help with donations. This program has provided many veterans with personal hygiene items and other things we look at as necessities.
Jonathan has also organized and completed the restoration of a Veteran’s Memorial. He cleaned the bricks, base, and plaque and eagle figure above it. He also repaired the cracks in the base, repainted the Memorial and replaced the flags and flowers surrounding it. Jonathan took the time to receive donations for the supplies and help he needed to conclude this task.
Jonathan created a library of new books, videos and audio books for St. Christopher’s Hospital for children in 1999 and added additional books the following year. This involved many hours of meetings, collections, stamping, and cataloging and the help of others. He received books from local and national government officials, a diversity of cultural organizations, sports teams as well as fellow scouters, students, family, community and friends. He made it, as a real library would be, so the children confined to the hospital could experience the fun of “going” to the library. He used initiative by having books donated in honor or remembrance of people, this helped donations considerably. This was above and over the requirements he needed for making Eagle Scout, simply having collected some books and donating them would have been sufficient, but he wanted to do more knowing it would make a difference to the children. Jonathan did not just want to provide then with books, but with an experience many of us take for granted.
His projects have not stopped there. He has been helping a local shelter for women and children with school supplies, backpacks, and what he calls “hugs”- stuffed animals. He is currently gathering winter items for them and is continuing to look for additional opportunities to serve.