Issue #15 | December 2018
Happy December!

The snow has fallen, and the time of giving has started. Happy Holidays!

Panel season is well underway with FIVE teams launching already. One school gets the "first of the year" prize - - and that is Oakmont Regional High School. Two teams out of Oakmont became the first and second teams of FY19 to launch. Read more about those teams and three other newly launched teams, below.

In addition to holding five panels, UWYV also hosted a well-received annual Administrators Breakfast, our Changemaking Problem Solving Session, and accompanied the Toy Town Elementary School team to Heywood Hospital with the 1,500 books they collected for donation in tow.

Wishing you a very happy holidays and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!


~the United Way Youth Venture Team!
UWYV had five Venture Teams present at a community panel this month. The pictures above are from the two Oakmont Regional High School panels. The teams launched are APUSH4PEACE and Growing Towards the Future.

APUSH4PEACE is a Youth Venture Team made up of an entire 11th grade AP US History class at Oakmont. As a class they started learning about the Marshall Plan, and became inspired by the idea of giving foreign aid and spreading American prosperity. The inspiration came right as their school held their first Unified Basketball Game, which helps non-traditional learners, and gave them an idea for their fundraiser – a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Funds raised at this event are supporting the construction of high school latrines and sanitation facilities in Cambodia.

Growing Towards the Future is hoping to support the EXCEL program at Oakmont. These three boys will be building two raised garden beds and donating them to the EXCEL program, which will allow students to work in these gardens. The boys’ inspiration stems from the love for one of their basketball teammates who is in the EXCEL program. They know it is one of the most rewarding feelings to make someone’s day. They hope to do this for more of the EXCEL students and the community in general. Since the EXCEL students are among the most vulnerable at Oakmont, the ultimate goal is for the EXCEL students to donate crops to local food banks and help them to feel empowered by giving them a unique opportunity to create something and to help others resulting in something positive that they might not usually get to experience.

Meals for Shields is a team comprised of two senior boys from Monty Tech who realize how much firefighters sacrifice during the holidays by being away from their families when they are scheduled to work. These students raised money and sponsorship funds and is delivering hams and pies on Saturday to every single firehouse in the 27 cities and towns in the Monty Tech district to enjoy during Christmas shifts. Special thanks to Price Chopper and the Monty Tech culinary program for providing discounted food!

DC Bound is a Sky View Middle School team that started this Venture to be able to help offset costs for families of students going on the 8th grade trip to Washington DC. They discovered that the expense of the trip can be a hardship for some families and they have raised money to purchase supplies and to be able to provide some families with money to for meals for students on the trip.

Given that health class is no longer funded at Sky View Middle School, the two girls from Love Yourself, Find Yourself decided to bring mental health awareness to their school. They sell hot chocolate to raise awareness and to make donations to local organizations who share their mission, such as the local chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They host "Wear Green" days at their school for mental health awareness. Additionally, they sell cards that students can buy to write a kind, encouraging note to teachers and other students. Look for Love Yourself, Find Yourself on the front page of today's Sentinel & Enterprise, or read the article here: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_32341932/middle-schoolers-raising-mental-health-awareness

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR NEW YOUTH VENTURE TEAMS! We think you are amazing!
The Toy Town Elementary School team collected 1,500 books last fall for their book drive and recently donated them to Heywood Hospital in Gardner. Their mission was to give kids and adults something to do while waiting for medical services. Way to go Toy Town Helpers!
Project Film, a Venture Team from Samoset Middle School has been busy with their mission of making sure new students and staff at Samoset feel comfortable in their new school.

They have filmed Samoset School News and made an episode that will be used for the 5th grade "move up day".

They are also working on videos that are focused on things like; “Life in Middle School,” “Preparation for Middle School,” and “Things That Involve Samoset Students.”
On Friday, November 30, Changemakers from all over Fitchburg, Leominster, and MWCC gathered for an inspiring and impactful day of Changemaking professional development. The energy was focused on problem solving, re-invigoration, and team building.
 
At this session, Changemakers worked together to co-create solutions to roadblocks they may encounter along their Changemaker journey. This day went incredibly well and successfully revved up the engines of all who came. From all of us at UWYV, we want to give a huge thank you to everyone who made time to attend this Problem Solving Session, and everyone who continues to lead Changemaking lives.

To learn more about Changemaking, check out Ashoka's Changemaker Communities website and look for more updates from us via newsletter and social media for some of the positive outcomes occurring within our Changemaker partner organizations.
We also hosted our annual Administrators Breakfast this month. The highlight included remarks from acclaimed speaker, Maria Milagros, who introduced themes and insights from her life that impact the students we serve each day. Maria’s keynote inspired dialogue not only about meeting the needs of students, but connecting and recharging as leaders in roles that can sometimes be isolating and lonely. Maria enlivened the discussion with her unique perspective as a formerly disengaged North Central MA youth transformed to a thriving and inspirational leader.

One of our key takeaways from Maria is the important reminder to make time to reflect on the things for which we are grateful. How about you? What are five things you are thankful for today?

Thank you to our Administrators Breakfast Sponsor, Johnson Controls !
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