Issue #28 | June 2020
Hello Changemakers - from all of us here at United Way Youth Venture! Happy June.

What an extraordinarily 'different' time this is and we hope that you and your family are doing well, and staying safe and healthy!

We would like to invite you to a Portrait of a Graduate Community Idea Sharing discussion , inspired and funded through support of the Barr Foundation's Portrait of a Graduate Initiative to reimagine high school.

COVID-19 has forced changes no one anticipated for our schools. We hope this discussion will give community members, families, and in particular, students, to have a place to share their voice, hopes, and ideas for how school will look in the immediate future. 

This discussion will be recorded and your many ideas and suggestions shared with school leadership as well as helping the longer process of reimagining our region-wide portrait of a high school graduate.

This positive and productive discussion will be held via Zoom next Thursday, June 25 at 7:00pm .

-  --->> Click here to access registration and to complete a brief demographic survey and upon completion you will have access to the Zoom information.

We hope to see you next Thursday!
As always, we appreciate you and thank you for your continued support!

~the United Way Youth Venture Team!
Be sure to check out Jake VanHillo's latest " Changemaker Check In " videos! He is sporting a brand new haircut in his latest episode.

Click here for the UWYV YouTube Channel to view his video series!
A little school and life disruption wouldn't stop "Homes for Trees"!

To say that COVID-19 rattled our education system is an understatement. Overnight, Venturers' panels were stopped suddenly as everyone was scrambling to figure out a "new normal". But not even a global pandemic can stop our Venturers from making a difference!

Meet "Homes for Trees" from Fall Brook Elementary School . As the name suggests, their focus was on planting trees at their school to help the environment. Instead, they shifted their focus to more pressing matters - - helping those in need. As a result of a successful fundraiser held back when school was 'in session', they had funds to donate and decided to make the financial donation to Ginny's Helping Hands , and held a Zoom event with the director, Susan Chalifoux Zephir, and Assistant Manager , Brandon Robbins, both in attendance to accept the donation.

Way to go "Homes for Trees", we are so proud of you!
Spotlight On Northwest Elementary’s UWYV Champion
Brian Prehna
by Kristi Maloney

These days, our Northwest Elementary Champion Brian Prehna can be found on Google Hangouts in virtual classrooms, connecting with students. He is very much on call, making phone calls and sending messages to students and families to check in and see how they are doing.

But let’s rewind a bit, back to when students were in school attending UWYV meetings once a week, and Brian was informed that the students wanted their cause to be child abuse.

He talked to the students about CASA and his involvement in the organization. The team voted in favor of Northwest UWYV Champion Brian Prehna partnering with CASA . The CASA Project of Worcester County is a not-for-profit organization committed to speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Worcester County Courts. Brian also arranged for Robb and Julie from CASA to visit students, so that they could learn more about the organization. Read more about that in this post I wrote about CASA’s visit to Northwest’s UWYV Team.

Click here to read more about their project and about Brian.
Having Fun Social Distancing – UWYV Samoset Venturer Emily Leon
by Kristi Maloney

The last time I saw Emily Leon, from the UWYV Team Helping Paws, was March 6, 2020. That was my last day at Samoset before the shutdown of schools due to COVID-19. That day, she excitedly told me how she and Ashlee (her teammate) were having a successful donation drive for pet supplies for the Sterling Animal Shelter. Their collection bins were really filling up!

Emily has a lot of spunk. She is the kind of kid who shows her spirit by wearing an elf costume to school the last day before Samoset’s Christmas vacation. I thought that was great! It was not something that I, as a shy, awkward middle-schooler would have ever done. Here she is proudly posing for a picture with an elfin twinkle in her eye.

Click here to read more about Emily!
The Kindergarten Staff at South Street
Elementary Delivers
by Kristi Maloney

The Kindergarten staff at South Street Elementary “delivers” to students in so many ways. Naturally, door-to-door deliveries to students during the current school shut-downs just made sense to this dedicated team of educators. Through careful coordination, the Kindergarten staff delivered goodie bags and marigold plants to their students on May 22, while maintaining a safe social distance. 

Click here to read more about these Changemaker Educators.
Interview with Venturer and Intern Katelyn Murphy

We had the pleasure of getting to know Katelyn Murphy as she was launching her first Venture at Oakmont Regional High School . Soon after she became an intern with UWYV, helped launch another Venture Team, and later she co-hosted the UWYV Fall Kickoff in 2020. This gal is a STAR in so many ways. She has numerous talents, artistically and professionally. We are a better organization and team by knowing Katelyn. We will always be grateful for the work she has done for us and the laughs we've shared together – – though we hope that eventually we may be all in the office together again at one time. I’m happy she agreed to let all of YOU learn more about what she's up to these days.

Click here to read her interview.
Interested in writing for the official UWYV blog? Our audience wants to hear from YOU!

The Venturer Voice blog seeks students, Champions, Allies and community contributors to write pieces for our official blog!