The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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Volunteering is a big aspect of academic life; it not only helps out with hours, but it also aids in building skills such as empathy, commitment, and it opens an opportunity to play a bigger beneficial role in the community around us. As known, many students look for volunteer opportunities, that is why I have interviewed Mrs. Danielle Newbold, responsible for Miles To Go, a charity organization that operates in the Orlando area.
1.How did MTG start? What was the original idea?
"Miles To Go began one afternoon at a red light on the corner of Turkey Lake & Sand Lake Rd. There was a panhandler there asking for money. Miles was in the backseat telling me to give him cash. "I know you have some Mom, why aren't you giving him any?!"
I had been putting this conversation off for awhile. Miles was not letting up this time and was getting quite upset. So I told him, "We can't be sure how he will use the money." Miles had the solution, "So then we need to give something else!"
We went home and brainstormed items to give. We googled, used our common sense and knowledge of our local weather. It was a great start!
Our original idea was to do this as a mother/son community service project. It didn't take long to realize that we were meant to do more!
Our first 150 empty bags were donated by Orlando Body & Movement Therapy. It was there that the name "Miles To Go" came to us as well.
From there we became a 501(3)(c) and have now packed/donated over 600 bags!"
2. How can the community help MTG on a daily basis?
"The community can and has been of great help! You can simply save your hotel shampoos, add a couple MTG supplies to your weekly grocery order, order from our Amazon wish list, order through Amazon Smile (.5% goes back to the charity of your choice), attend a packing day, host a supply drive…..so many options!"
3. What is MTG's goal?
"Our goal has been the same since the beginning; Spreading love one bag at a time. We do not have a monetary or quantity goal. We just want to help as many people as we can. We do that with our gift of a Miles To Go bag to the homeless & also by growing compassion in the person giving the bag out."
4. Can helpers get volunteer hours? How can they be a part of MTG?
"YES! Helping our youth is one of our favorite things! We love assisting you get your hours and growing compassion while you do it! You can do a supply drive with your club, team, church, family, so many options! You can also help in by getting supplies ready for packing (like folding t-shirts, pairing items, numbering cards, etc). Social media is a big one too! You can spread awareness, share our Amazon wish list and so much more!"
5. Do you have any future plans regarding the future of Miles To Go?
"On the horizon we have a brunch at Plancha (the Four Seasons) November 4th where a portion of the proceeds will be given to MTG & a packing day November 15th. Both are open to the public. We are excited to announce that Miles To Go was selected by Visit Orlando to be the philanthropic feature at their event in Tallahassee this December!
We are set to do a large school fundraiser in Ocala in February, are partnering with local schools and doctor's offices in Orlando, Windermere & Winter Garden and can be found in local gyms as well!"
*After that, if interested, I recommend you to find more information about Miles To Go and be a part of this amazing project in order to get some hours, help the community, and be a part of many smiles that come with the bags. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know!
Dance marathon is a movement that has swept the U.S with the goal of raising money, spreading awareness, and showing the power of dancing and fun. WPS held our first dance marathon last year, called Lakerthon, and we raised over $35,000. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and we are hoping to make this event grow every single year. As most people don't know everything about Lakerthon, I figured I would summarize what Lakerthon is, the benefits, and how it makes a positive impact on our community.
Lakerthon is a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals that raises money for sick and injured kids. We raise money specifically for Arnold Palmer and Winnie Palmer here in Central Florida, so you know exactly where your money is going. We fundraise throughout the school year, leading up to Lakerthon night, which this year will be on February 1st, from 5-11 in the WPS gym. We have a bundt cake fundraiser, poinsettia sales, a spirit week, and so many other opportunities to raise money. It is an all school event and we try to connect the LS, MS, and HS in order to make the biggest impact.
On the actual Lakerthon night, there is dancing, food, games, and hearing from miracle families who graciously tell us their story. Everyone at the event stands for the whole night as a symbol for kids in hospital beds who can't stand. "We stand for those who can't". We commonly use the phrase #FTK, which means "for the kids", meaning that everything we do is for them, and all money raised goes towards helping them.
We raised $35,000 last year, but our goal this year is $60,000. This isn't possible without all of our miracle makers and the support of our community, both inside and outside of school. We encourage anyone and everyone to participate in Lakerthon, because there are so many ways that you can make a miracle in a kid's life.
One thing many Windermere Prep students don't realize- you can take the electives or courses you want online even when the school doesn't directly offer them and still have it count as one of your class periods. If Windermere Prep isn't offering a course or elective you're passionate about/really want to take part in, you do have the possibility to take that course during the school year! There are many options offered as to what you can do to ensure you're taking a course you're excited to learn about. For example, I am taking a film course, and a photography course online this year. I am taking these classes because I'm extremely passionate about these subjects, and unfortunately, Windermere Prep does not offer them as a course. But, I don't have to let that restrict me from learning about what I want to do! It's awesome that Windermere Prep encourages their students to do what they're interested in, as they want their students to succeed, so I advise you to take advantage of this.
Here are some things to consider if you're interested:
-You must talk to your counselor, and have them approve it. This is crucial! They must understand why you want to take the course and how it will benefit you in the future. Your counselor can discuss options with you as to what platforms meet Windermere Prep's standards/work best for you.
-You need to be prepared to do work on your own. Online courses are relatively independent, so being self motivated is a must. An online course is still a class, and there are assignments and tests that may be due each week. You need to plan accordingly and allot time each week to complete assignments as you would for your classes at Windermere Prep.
-If you do end up taking an online course in place of one of your electives or other courses, you may be permitted early release. Since I am taking two online classes, I have early release each day, as I don't have a 6th or 7th period. This may not work/be ideal for every person's individual situations, but it is something to bring up when speaking to your counselor.
I happened to be born a girl in the 21st century, and into a family that loves me unconditionally and provides me with anything I need and most any opportunity I want. From the beginning, I've truly lived a spoiled, blessed life. 17 years later, the only thing that's changed, somewhere in between then and now, is that I have 75 sisters from Sahasra Deepika (SD)-- a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a home and a quality education to impoverished and orphaned girls in Bangalore, India. These girls are no different than me in intellect, creativity, or capacity. The only thing separating us is a factor out of any of our controls: the socio-economic circumstance we were born into-- a factor which, unfortunately, limits opportunity.
Realizing all that I have in comparison to so many around me heightens my gratitude and appreciation for the life I live, and spurs me to take advantage of what I've been given and use it to enact change and lend a voice to what I am passionate about-- which happens to be women: women's empowerment, education, rights, and parity. I do confess, however, that at least to me, the pursuit of all these efforts sounds a little too idealistic to realistically tackle. But I have realized, largely because of what I've learned from spending time at SD, it's up to girls and boys alike to somehow, in their own way, turn these idyllic ambitions into tangible realities. This, I believe, should be, in some capacity and upon whatever issue they connect to, the goal of us millenials of the 21st century.
However, it's easy to go into any altruistic endeavor feeling some level of pity, or maybe even guilt because of what you have compared to those you want to help. I know this is oftentimes the mindset I hold. But it's equally important to realize what they do have, or even what they have that we don't. We cannot amplify humanitarian causes so much that they, as virtuous yet very broad forces, overpower the humanity within the individual you're connecting with: they are not just hopeless cases who know and have nothing but misfortune or darkness. Such a mindset causes a psychological disconnect, and can hinder you from connecting at a real, personal level. I have learned this from forming deep bonds with the girls at Sahasra Deepika, as friends and as sisters. True, we ask each other about where we come from, and exchange in what people might call more meaningful conversation, but we also talk about Taylor Swift. We sneak to the roof of the neighboring high school and see who can drink the water out of the coconut the fastest. We are real with each other. We are friends. And I think of them as no less, or no less capable than me. They are intelligent and they are talented: they're artists and they're athletes-- they've even beaten me, a varsity track runner, in running races, with me in my Nikes and them in their bare feet. And they have self-esteem and dignity, which I think is more resilient and stronger than mine, as it has been weathered and tested, broken down and built back up.
These traits of resilience and strength, nourished even more within the girls by the caring environment of Sahasra Deepika, should serve as paradigms for the rest of society. These are the qualities which transcend geography, religion, culture and sociology-economic class-- they are ones which should be universally adopted and developed within all of us, for they are the requisites of enacting lasting and effective change, and are vital in both kindling and sustaining the deepas— the lights— within us all to serve as lights of hope for all of us brothers and sisters.
You can learn more about Sahasra Deepika at http://sdie.org/
Life is a pathway of choices, and the one who makes those choices is you. Whether you make the choice, someone else influences your choice, something influences your choices, the final result will be produced from you. There are times where you can turn your choices back, but most of the time, you cannot turn your choices back. Your one choice could lead to profitable and good results, but that one choice could lead to a series of mistakes and even a disaster. According to research, decision making suddenly changes when you reach puberty, and change slowly when you enter the twenties. I believe that the most choices made during the high school life is whether you should drink and do drugs, and I believe that the choice you make in the situation stated before will affect your future. Do not look for a situation that is only a step ahead. LOOK at a few more steps and imagine what your future could look like due to your one choice! I really hope for you to not make the decisions that may affect your future in a bad way.
I hope everyone has an amazing New Year! I would like to thank Valentina G., a 12th grade student mentor on our site, for suggesting blogging which will add a unique aspect to Reach A Student. This already proves the importantance of peer to peer help and support.
Our goal at Reach a Student is to help the students at Windermere as much as possible by providing tips and help from a student's perspective. Answering questions is a great way for students to connect and share with one another, however, the knowledge shared is limited by the questions asked. Blogging allows students to share their thoughts more freely and anyone can provide their peers with whatever information they think would be beneficial.
Since I believe that every student has some kind of insight that could be useful to others at WPS, anyone can contribute their own personal entries to the blog. I can even make your entry anonymous if you choose to. I also believe that the WPS teachers have valuable experience from when they were students (for example, how they faced and overcame an obstacle that a student might be facing today), so I reach out to all WPS faculty and hope you will contribute to our blog.
If you would like to submit a blog entry, email me at email@example.com.