Youth from Cape Henlopen High School’s JROTC Program were presented with a Jefferson Award during a town council meeting May 19 in City of Lewes Council Chambers in recognition of their outstanding community service projects as part of the Lead360 Challenge. Also being recognized are youth from Cape Henlopen High School’s Green Club and its Students In Action team.
The Lead360 Challenge was launched nationally by the Jefferson Awards and partners in September 2010. The focus of Lead360 is to recognize outstanding youth service projects that help make the world a better place. Participants can also share their stories of service, get templates for projects, and learn from other students. Students may enter their projects as individuals, teams, or entire schools. The challenge works with mayors and youth-focused organizations across the country to shine a positive spotlight on student-led community service initiatives.This year nationally the Jefferson Awards engaged 1 million young Americans working on over 5,000 service projects.
Lead360 involves students from kindergarten through college and focuses on nine major issues: education and literacy; environment and sustainability; community building; hunger and poverty; elder care; service to youth; health and wellness; animal rights; and peace and justice. This year in Delaware, there were 149 service projects submitted statewide. The City of Lewes’ three projects engaged 776 volunteers, contributed 4,130 hours of service, and impacted 13,772 lives. This had a financial impact of $94,990 to the City of Lewes and surrounding areas.
Mayor Ted Becker of Lewes said, “The Lewes community is extremely fortunate to have a very high number of our residents engaged in volunteer activities. There are many Lewes organizations that depend on the efforts of their volunteers to carry out their mission. The net result of the success of these volunteer efforts can be seen in every aspect of this community. In addition to the evident benefits of volunteerism, there are many collateral benefits that improve that quality of life for both the volunteers and the community at large.
"The Lewes City government and our many community organizations would not be able to provide the level of service that we all enjoy and have come to expect without the multitude of volunteer hours that our residents provide. The Lead360 Challenge provides an excellent opportunity for our youth to develop their awareness and commitment to volunteerism at an early stage in their life. I believe once engaged in volunteerism they will find their efforts to be rewarding on many levels and will more likely incorporate these skills into their relationships with others, both now and in the future. I look forward to Lewes’ continued involvement in the Jefferson Awards Lead360 Challenge in the years ahead.”
Jefferson Award winner, Cape Henlopen High School JROTC, was commended for its service to every sector of their local community over the past year. Cadets assisted the Lewes Public Library with book sales and moving books to and from storage, worked with children and the elderly at Beebe Funfest, participated in the Buddy Walk benefiting people with Down syndrome, worked at local grocery stores in collaboration with Mountaire collecting canned goods for nearly 200 families, acted as Salvation Army bell ringers, assisted with the setup and breakdown of stands and distributing water to participants in two marathons, facilitated the Harry K. Foundation to End Hunger in Sussex County Charity Ball and Silent Auction, spent their Christmas with the less fortunate at the Harbor Healthcare nursing facility, and participated in the development, cleaning, organization, and implementation of the first and only homeless shelter for female veterans in Delaware.
Other project participants include members of the Cape Henlopen High School Green Club. The 35-40 member Green Club focuses on recycling about 1,500 pounds of school-related items on a weekly basis. The club also volunteers its time for community green activities as well as raising monies for the school to exemplify green methodologies on and off campus. The club also participated in environmentally impactful activities in the local community such as adopting a beach, beach cleanup, and community cleaning activities throughout the school year.
The Cape Henlopen High School Students In Action Team does many community service projects throughout the year. In the last year, the team collected 66 pints of blood, helped over five families through Adopt-A-Family programs, collected over 300 items through a canned food drive for families in need, and gave over $5,000 to the local community in need. The canned food drive was able to help stock the shelves of five families for one month.
The Jefferson Awards for Public Service was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard to create a Nobel Prize equivalent for public and community service. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism and public service.