April 2023 Students4Good Webinar RecapMay 17, 2023
April is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth as we embrace the changing season and the opportunity for growth. It's a time to celebrate the beauty of life and appreciate those who make a difference in our world. In this spirit of renewal, we want to highlight the inspiring work of three young individuals - Jonathan Huang, Gabriella Vernov, and Sarina Vernov - who are dedicated to making a positive impact on their communities. Despite their youth, they have shown extraordinary commitment to raising awareness and lending a helping hand to those in need.
Jonathan Huang is a first-year student at Harvard University from Houston, Texas. He is currently majoring in molecular and cellular biology as part of the pre-med track. Jonathan is the founder and president of the Circle K e-Club of the New England District, which is the first-ever multi-school virtual based chapter in the world.
The e-club is not tied to a specific university and has 40 members from many schools across three different states. It was charted in February but started last fall. Jonathan started the club because he felt that once people get to college, they become so occupied with other things that they lose sight of giving back to the community. Circle K allows them to do just that.
While it can be difficult since not everyone is concentrated in one area, Jonathan wants to make it where distance is not a factor in service and everyone can contribute equally. Jonathan was involved in Key Club in high school and held positions sophomore, junior, and senior year. He wanted to make it more engaging and do more things.
As a result, his high school Key Club became the fourth highest ranked chapter out of 300+. Jonathan wanted to open something similar in university and have an outlet for community service. He aims to ensure that events are reaching outside of the school building and expanding their impact. Jonathan's biggest inspiration was the district governor of Key Club his senior year because she went from being a district governor to holding an international position.
Circle K International is the largest student-led collegiate service organization, serving over 13,000 members across the globe. The organization aims to help members commit to a lifetime of service, fellowship, and leadership. Circle K is a part of the larger organization Kiwanis, which also oversees Key Club.
Through Circle K, the e-club has already been able to hold several service initiatives, such as packaging 10,000 ready-to-eat meals and sorting 150+ food packages at a pantry. Additionally, they are currently preparing the development of several new initiatives for the Cambridge/Boston area.
Gabriella and Sarina Vernov, two sisters from Long Island, NY, founded GLOW4Kids, a project aimed at helping children battling cancer. The project started a few years ago with lemonade and brownie stands, where all proceeds were donated to cancer research. However, they decided to go bigger last year and do more. Since they love making bracelets, they thought it would be a great start to their mission and show how they can make a difference.
The sisters started making clay bead bracelets, and the whole family helped. They customized the bracelets based on the child's age, and each bracelet is unique, just like every child. They send the bracelets to childhood cancer patients in hospitals via postcards. They also involve other kids and invite them to be ambassadors, making sure that everyone is included, and people battling this disease are not getting bullied or anything.
All bracelets have charms that say "GLOW4Kids," and they have different colors based on a specific month and cancer(s) focused on that month. Lavender bracelets are available year-round since lavender represents all cancers They also have specials that change every month.
Gaby, 12, and Sarina, 9, sometimes have bracelet parties where friends come together to make bracelets. They want to open chapters and expand their reach to impact more kids affected by cancer. In the first month of opening their website, they received an order for 200 bracelets. “It has been a big challenge to market and make enough bracelets, but in the end, it is all worth it,” said Gabriella.
The inspiration for the project stemmed from a personal experience; Gaby and Sarina lost their great-grandma and grandma to pancreatic cancer. Their experience motivated them to create something that could help bring joy and happiness to children fighting cancer. By designing and distributing bracelets, they hope to bring a little bit of brightness into the lives of these children and help them enjoy life outside of the hospital. The appreciation they receive from the kids in return is truly rewarding and reinforces their commitment to this cause.
In addition to their passion for helping children with cancer, Gabriella and Sarina are active and involved in various activities. Gabriella likes to do many things, including playing soccer, tennis, and karate. She also likes to travel, read, organize, and ride horses with her sister. Sarina is a very creative entrepreneur who likes to draw, play tennis, soccer, and karate. Helping others and being involved is something that makes her happy, and she loves giving.
Their project, GLOW4Kids, has become a great success, and they are involving other kids around the country to learn about children battling cancer in hospitals. It's important to them that they share and get others involved in helping at an early age. Kids helping kids is powerful, and doing it together is making a difference. As ambassadors, a child can draw a picture, which they will include in every bracelet package.
Jonathan, Gabriella, and Sarina are truly making a difference in their communities. It is clear that Jonathan, Gabriella, and Sarina are passionate about their cause and are committed to making a positive change in the world. Their efforts are a shining example of the power of youth activism and the importance of giving back to one's community.
Here are our top three takeaways from this event:
- Collaboration is key - When working on a project, it is important to collaborate with others who share your vision and can contribute unique skills and perspectives. Many projects are more successful because of collaborative efforts.
- Passion drives action - When you are passionate about a cause, it can motivate you to take action and make a difference.
- Small actions can have a big impact - Even small actions, like making bracelets, can have a big impact on people's lives. The smallest acts of kindness and compassion can make a big difference in the world.
April Students4Good Recap
By: Anvita Ambardekar | Annual PR Specialist, Digital4Good + #ICANHELP
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