Issue #20 | May 2019
Happy May!

And Happy Panel Season! This is our busiest month as we are launching several Youth Venture Teams each week. This month 15 Teams have launched! Incredible how so many young people in North Central MA understand that they can be Changemakers. Quite impressive.

You can read about recent Teams' missions, below, and can read about all of our Youth Venture teams by clicking here. Here's to all our young Changemakers!

We were honored to award two United Way Youth Venture scholarships to local high school seniors and one to a current college freshman who is still making change through his Venture Team. Learn about these incredible students, below.

You’re invited! Please join us on Tuesday, June 11 from 4:30 to 7:00 at Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort for a Celebration of Changemakers co-hosted by MWCC with Fitchburg and Leominster Public Schools. This engaging evening will demonstrate examples of Changemaking and its outcomes, ranging from personal transformation to innovative teaching practices and from school culture to student-led projects. Come and learn why 100% of Changemakers report that they feel more joy, more meaning, and a greater sense of purpose in their roles.  RSVP to! We hope to see you then!

As always, we appreciate you and thank you for your continued support!

~the United Way Youth Venture Team!
Caleb VanHillo
Meals for Shields – Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
Recipient the UWYV Bob Chauvin Leadership Award

Throughout Caleb’s time in Youth Venture he has participated in three ventures, being in leadership roles in two of them. Dedication to these ventures has always been a priority for him during their development and implementation. His latest venture and the one he is personally most proud of, is Meals For Shields. Through this venture he and his Team delivered hams and pies, as Christmas meals, to all surrounding police and fire stations. This venture had multiple challenges with the biggest being a time constraint to make the deadline of Christmas day. This venture become a focus in his life, an ongoing commitment he has been pleased to have been a part of; sacrifices of his time and resources to benefit the community and the people who protect it. Caleb has always had a focus on making a positive impact on the community around him and United Way Youth Venture has given him an outlet to clearly do just that. During the process of creating his Venture and for a time after, he was completely dedicated to seeing the venture through to benefit the community and the people who reside in it. He is pleased to go on and inspire others to help make change through events like the Spring Showcase, and simply through the glowing praise he gives when speaking of this kind of work. It is his hope to inspire all those around him to be just as passionate about committing time and positive energy to help build a stronger community. Caleb will be attending Mount Wachusett Community College in the fall to study engineering.
Kyle Doyle
Project Launch – Leominster High School & CTEi
Recipient of UWYV Scholarship

Kyle is responsible for resurrecting Project Launch, a previously started Venture to help freshman adjust to high school, that became inactive for a few years. Beginning in his sophomore year, Kyle persevered to recruit student leaders, find an adult ally for the team, and develop a budget without requesting any seed funding. Under his leadership, Project Launch has been a success. They helped incoming freshmen navigate the confusing school wings to find their classes during move-up day, understand the class rotation schedule, learn how to open combination lockers, and set up class study binders. In addition, they held events around midterms to help students understand the midterm structure as well as determine a solid study strategy. Kyle is an inspiration as far as his perseverance and determination are concerned. In addition to Kyle’s leadership with Project Launch, he is passionate about serving his community, volunteering as a Eucharistic minister, collecting food for the food pantry, giving 250 hours each summer to the Creative Choices Leominster summer camp for elementary and middle school kids. Kyle is also a leader for his Boy Scout Troop, where he became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14. Kyle will be attending either Saint Anselm or Sacred Heart to study Chemistry beginning in the fall.
Landon Tucker
Current Events Club – Fitchburg High School and Union College
Recipient of UWYV SCholarship

Landon created the Current Events Club venture last year, which selects hot topics each month or so for students to dig into problem solving locally. Currently, they are collecting food in the cafeteria that would normally be thrown out and donating it to Our Father’s House. The Current Events Club is going strong this year due to Landon’s foresight, strategic planning, and focus to ensure sustainability and expansion each year. Though Landon is now in college, he is still an active member of the board and supports leadership in expanding their presence and transforming needs into solutions through student passion. Landon supported other ventures and inspired others to do the same. As a result, he has inspired students at Fitchburg High to participate in service work or create their own venture. More and more students are willing to engage in service work and support the needs of the community. Landon does well in college, maintaining a 3.9 GPA in a challenging mechanical engineering program at Union College. As a result of his UWYV experiences, he continues to lead other students and has been selected to serve as an ambassador for next year’s orientation for the incoming class.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!
The Gardner High School Venture team, Community Garden, collaborated with the Garden Club and science teacher Mr. Tata to begin work cleaning the courtyard and planting vegetables. Community Garden leader Marcus Bruno is pictured after planting with GHS Garden Club members. Samantha Dokus of Growing Places (which gave a grant for this project) assisted in the design of the gardens and helped the students as they planted the seeds.
Fab 5 from Ayer-Shirley Regional High School launched only in March and have already raised over $2,500 from their first fundraiser. This Team has blown us away. This is a Team of 9th graders who just a month ago had a difficult time even making one simple phone call to Apple Valley Center (a senior care facility) to see if they could plan visits to spend time with residents. Fast forward to today and this Team has knocked on over 500 doors resulting in the donation of more than 100 gift cards as well as 230 sales of their calendar raffles. We are so proud of their efforts!
Try Your Best, Fitchburg High School
The mission of Try Your Best is to restore Bartley-Nolan Park, also known as “Half Court”, in Fitchburg. This is a local park, playground, and half basketball court. The facility has been neglected for some time so this team has "adopted" the park to make it more cosmetically appealing so there will be an increase in children who go there to play. The Team's inspiration came from all of the great memories they made together at the park when they were younger and they want to give back to the community so other young people can create similar memories.
Project Hydrate, Fitchburg High School
This project-based Venture was created by The Current Events Club at Fitchburg High School. The mission of this Team is to install an Elkay ezH20 water bottle filling station at the school in order to give students a safer and healthier water source. The Team's project is also helping to reduce the amount of single-use plastic water bottles that students buy or use.
Student Ambassador, Fitchburg High School
The mission of this team is to make new and incoming students feel more welcome. Since Fitchburg Public Schools have the 5th highest churn rate in the state the students felt there was a need for student ambassadors to welcome new students and help them figure out the crazy days at Fitchburg High School. The team will pair new students with an ambassador based on gender, grade level, and language. The ambassadors help new students learn the school schedule, help them get breakfast and lunch, meet up with them at the end of the day and show them to their bus.
Inclusion Illusion, Longsjo Middle School
This Team is creating a unified sports team at their school. Through their fundraising efforts, this Youth Venture Team will also provide supplies for the inclusion classes. Inclusion classes are made up of students with disabilities that learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms. This motivated Team of sixth grade girls spends their ELT helping students in the inclusion classes by teaching them social skills. They are also playing with and teaching inclusion students basketball and volleyball, with the ultimate goal of creating a unified sports team. These girls are inspiring other students to get involved as well - six other students are on board to help this Team succeed. These girls are positive role models and mentors inspiring AND motivating through inclusion and what it means to be inclusive.
Krafts for Kids, Frances Drake Elementary School
The Youth Venture Leadership Team at Frances Drake felt compelled to help young people in DCF. They learned that sometimes children have to spend time waiting in the DCF office and they wanted to provide these young people with something to do that can be creative and fun. They also understand that children can be bored in their new homes in foster care. Therefore, they are holding a craft supply war at their school. Each grade is designated to bring in a certain item (puzzle, notebook, markers, stickers etc.) and all the items will be compiled to create and fill 200 bags to donate to DCF.
All Star Angels, Samoset Middle School
This six-member team at Samoset Middle School is raising awareness and educating their peers about the dangers of drug addiction. They are fundraising to bring in a guest speaker who will address the whole school on this consequential topic.
Sports for Youth, Samoset Middle School
Sports for Youth wants to donate sports equipment to children who have difficulty purchasing their own. They recognize that not all children have the privilege or have the equipment to play sports. They will host donation drives for used equipment in various locations (including the Leominster Elks) and they are partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods for discounts on items for their sports-themed raffle fundraiser. This team feels fortunate to be able to play sports and have the equipment that they need to do so, and they want to share that with as many youth as possible.
Helping Paws, Samoset Middle School
Few things are as heartbreaking as animal abuse. Animal shelters are vital to rescuing neglected pets and animals, but they often operate with limited resources. Helping Paws is a Samoset Middle School Youth Venture team that understands this and has therefore chosen to partner with the Sterling Animal Shelter. They decided on the Sterling Animal Shelter because it is a no-kill shelter without a time or age restriction. With their pet themed fundraisers, Helping Paws is raising the money to purchase the supplies on the shelter’s needs list. They will personally drop off the donations and visit with the pets in the shelter.
Sports for Smiles, Sky View Middle School
Sports for Smiles is collecting used sports equipment and raising money to give to students who can’t afford to play sports in the city of Leominster. The team is partnered with the Leominster Recreation Department to help store and disperse the used equipment to students who are in need. All members of this Team play sports but they know not everyone can afford to play a sport, because of the high fees to play or the cost of the necessary equipment. They help students to feel included. They hope that money will no longer stop people from playing the sports they love.
Hands to Paws, Sky View Middle School
Hands to Paws helps animals that are suffering and in need of supplies and other items. They are partnered with Worcester Animal shelter and ideally would like to expand to help as many animal shelters as possible. Their main inspiration comes from learning that animals are dying every day because they do not have the necessary supplies to live a good life. Some shelters even lack the funding to help these animals so they want to help these underfunded shelters by providing supplies and donations.
Dominate Disaster, Sky View Middle School
Dominate Disaster helps to provide baskets of essential items to people who are affected by natural disasters. These baskets include items such as; flashlights, batteries, water, non-perishable food items, socks, blankets, and matches. The Team's primary inspiration comes from having had family affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters so they want to be able to help. The Team is partnered with Habitat for Humanities and the Red Cross to help distribute the baskets to people in need.
Empowering Women, Parker Charter School
The two students at Parker who created their Venture Team, Empowering Women, wish for all women to feel empowered to take a stand for their beliefs. They hope that through their fundraising and awareness campaigns and displaying the courage they have to tackle difficult issues that other students will be more inclined to take a front row seat to causes they care about that may go against what other believe and even what even their own families believe.
Northwest Animal Activists, Northwest Elementary School
The Northwest Animal Activists gave thoughtful consideration when they decided that they wanted to partner with the Gardner Animal Shelter. One of their determining factors was that this shelter will take in both cats and dogs. Sara, an employee of the shelter came to speak to this team about the shelter and how it operates. This extremely smart group of 4th and 5th graders asked her intelligent questions and learned about the shelter and what supplies are needed most. With the funds raised, this team is buying the supplies and making their donation personally.
Change for Life, Sky View Middle School
This Team has big hearts for helping the homeless population. They watched videos and saw photos of homeless people and it really moved them to understand what they may go through. They learned they can be extremely cold and hungry. They also learned that many veterans are homeless. They have partnered with Our Father's House to raise funds and collect items such as blankets and shoes.
Toy Town Helpers, Toy Town Elementary School
This year's Toy Town Helpers Team is dedicated to, and passionate about, helping the Gardner Animal Shelter. The Team will collect and donate supplies and raise money for the shelter. They are holding a donation drive located at their school. Their fundraiser is a Scooby-Doo gummies and graham crackers sale for one week during all lunches. Snacks will be delivered to students a few days before school ends. The Team learned about the significant amount of homeless animals and how so many of them end up at a local shelter. The Team really feels a need to help these animals live the best possible life!

CONGRATULATIONS to all the new Venture Teams that launched this month!!
Well done!
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