From 11-13 April 2014, many Golden Key members from about 70 chapters came together to participate in service activities for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), the largest weekend of service in the world. GYSD was created to engage young people ages 5 to 25 years old in service activities to create civic minded youth while bettering their communities. All Golden Key members and chapters were encouraged to take part in service events for GYSD.
GK chapters that participated were eligible to apply for our Global Youth Service Day Chapter Awards for their outstanding initiatives.
And today, we are excited to announce the winners of these awards!
First place goes to the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez chapter who are awarded $500! The second and third place winners, receiving $250 each, are the chapters at Wright State University and the University of South Dakota, respectively. Congratulations to these three chapters!
The Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (UPRM) chapter had two GYSD events in which 22 of their chapter members participated. The first was called “Build Your Future.” It consisted of seminars directed towards high school students about college education and career development. The goal was to motivate these students to finish a college degree. The participants visited three local high schools where they talked about the benefits of an undergraduate degree and highlighted diverse career options, which the students showed great enthusiasm towards.
Additionally, the chapter organized an event called “Seeds of Hope: The Puppet Show.” The chapter made puppets and went to UPRM Preschool Center to put on an environmentally themed puppet show for 31 children to illustrate about wildlife, environmental preservation and animal care. Then the GK members gave the kids a very thoughtful gift: baskets with tomato seeds and instructions about how to plant and grow a tomato tree. The event helped the children to start to learn about being conscious citizens while having fun.
“We fervently believe in our youth potential to make the difference. Global Youth Service Month has been an unforgettable journey and we hope to inspire others to live in service. Let’s make Global Youth Service part of our everyday lives and share the most unselfish and honorable virtue of life: to give,” said Dayana C. Reveron Alvalle, graduate student at UPRM.
The Wright State University chapter hosted an event called “Young Athlete’s Experience”. The purpose of this event was to invite children from ages two to seven with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activities. The stations introduced them to skills they will need for Special Olympics eligibility, beginning at age eight. The seven stations included: an obstacle course, running, “Coach says,” batting, kicking, beginning hockey, goalie drill, and much more. There were more than ten children with Down Syndrome, Schizencephaly, Autism, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder participate. It was an inclusive event and they highly encouraged family participation. Towards the end of the event, the children played with a large rainbow parachute. This was a unique opportunity because in their region, similar events do not exist where kids can learn these skills for future involvement with the Special Olympics. Because of this limitation, we reached out to community organizations to gain participants and make this event possible. This event provided a positive change for parents to meet one another outside of therapy in a fun environment. Valuable connections between families were also made as the chapter members noticed some of the families exchanging phone numbers for future play dates. Volunteers were recruited from Wright Patt United States Air Force, Special Olympics College and Phi Kappa Phi.
The University of South Dakota chapter hosted their own March of Dimes walk in Vermillion, South Dakota. The chapter successfully raised $1,540 to support March of Dimes, which raises money to support programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies, and it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies. The had 60 members from the community and campus join the march. All proceeds will go towards research and care as well as vaccinations for pre-mature births, full-term births and their mothers in the state of South Dakota.
Congratulations to our three winning chapters and a BIG thank you to all of our chapters that participated in Global Youth Service Day!