Service empowers youth to make a positive impact on issues they care about and harness their purpose and passion to build a brighter future. In the 2017-18 school year, Students In Action engaged 6,500 youth. For some of them, their ability to participate in our immersive training is made possible from the support they receive from their families. In celebration of Mother's Day, we spoke to a few moms to see how the program is impacting their kids' lives.
ALISE M., SIA mom to son Anthony (10th grade, NYC)
College-bound and focused on service
Alise knows that service to others helps build valuable skills. When we asked her why participating in Students In Action is an important part of her son's life she was quick to tout the benefits. "He gets to help other people and see that there are people who are less fortunate than he is," Alise said. At his NYC school, community service is required of every student. Most choose one off community service projects but Anthony has chosen to earn his hours through SIA's multiyear service-learning curriculum. Anthony also plans to go to college and through SIA he's able not only giving back but according to his mom, he's building a strong work ethic. "He wants to be a film editor," she says and that requires patience and attention to detail, two skills he hones through SIA. "Anthony knows that he has to stay grounded and focused on his academics. His average stays above a 90 and I know a lot plays into that but I do think service has helped." Alise is also seeing more from her son, an only child, at home. "He's been doing his housework more, helping me around the house!"
DINA G., SIA mom to daughter Ashlyn (8th grade, Massachusetts)
From quiet and shy to an empowered leader
When Dina was her daughter's age she was a very shy and quiet girl. "I missed out on a lot of things," she said. So she wasn't surprised to find that Ashlyn had inherited her introverted demeanor. "Before joining Students In Action she was extremely quiet and to herself," explained Dina. But now, according to Dina, Ashlyn has done at 180. Her participation in SIA has helped her find her voice and has given her the skills to use it. "When her SIA team presented the results of its Empty Bowls project Ashlyn was one of the girls who spoke about what they had accomplished! I was shocked to see her up there speaking in front of people, loudly and with confidence", Dina said. "These are important skills." In addition to her public speaking skills, Dina has seen her daughter take on more responsibility and leadership roles in school and other programs such as Girl Scouts. "When the students participate in SIA they get empowered. This program has given Ashlyn confidence that I didn't know she and I don't even think she knew she had.
JONELL W., SIA mom to daughter Summer (8th grader, Massachusetts)
When we asked Jonell to tell us the biggest change she's seen in her daughter Summer after 3 years of participating in Students In Action, she quickly responded with "It has made her extremely self-sufficient." In Students In Action, the students lead the way. When it comes to figuring out what they care about and planning/facilitating service projects, it’s vital that youth are in the driver’s seat. As a mom, Jonell has been able to rely on Summer a lot more since Summer's participation in the program. "The things that she used to depend on me for, she now has the skills and confidence to own," explained Jonell. "In SIA they start out with very big goals and as they work and learn they sometimes need to adapt and change their plans a bit. When that happens at home, Jonell is now more likely to roll with the punches." Jonell also shared she and Summer's dad like that SIA teaches Summer that not everyone is as fortunate as she is. "It helps her be more considerate of the needs of other people." A quality, not all pre-teens possess. "She's kinder to her younger sister, more compassionate."
KRISTI B., SIA mom to daughter Kaitlyn, (7th grade, California)
Homeschool student dedicated to serving others
Kristi was raised to believe that if you see needs in your community then you have a responsibility to meet them. As a homeschool teacher, Kristi is able to customize what she teaches her students she's chosen to include the SIA program as one of her core subjects. "Giving kids skills and leadership and helping them see needs outside of their own is a way of helping them mature and learn about themselves," Kristi said. "When we started the SIA program at our school Kaitlyn was not able to see what the needs are in our own community but by the end of the year, after completing the service projects she said to me that a light went on in her head." Kristi facilitates SIA with the guidance and support of our LA Executive Director. "Coming into SIA when you first hear about it, it's a lot to take in. Being able to lean on Jackeline was one of the key factors of our success." Kristi watched Kaitlyn grow from a quiet leader to a more "self-aware" and "self-confident" service-oriented leader. "The enlightenment, the change of mindset and her growth in one semester (in SIA) was way more than any textbook could give a child!"
VALERIE S., SIA mom to daughter Ava (7th grade, Massachusetts)
Passionate role model
"As a mom, the best thing about Ava's participation in the SIA program has been seeing her become passionate and educated about issues she otherwise wouldn't know about." That's just one of the benefits Valerie, says she's seen in Ava. "This school year is Ava's second year participating but her first in a leadership role," Valerie said. "She's more focused in her classes, she's a better learner because through SIA she sees how a subject like math has real-world applications even as a young person." SIA has not only increased Ava's passion and academic performance, but Valerie also says the increase in Ava's confidence has helped her go after other opportunities. "She's now the youngest counselor in training at a local program and I know that's because of SIA," Valerie said. Additionally, Ava, the oldest of 4 children has become more of a role model at home, inspiring her entire family to volunteer together at a farm that helps feed the hungry in her community.