Tag: volunteer project leaders

UWATX Celebrates VPL Students With Documentary Screening

Students and staff from Webb, Decker and Mendez Middle Schools joined Young Leaders Society members at the Alamo Drafthouse last week for a fun end-of-year celebration. The UWATX Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) middle school program aims to transform youth into active community leaders by teaching them leadership skills they need to make meaningful and lasting change in their communities. This year, our 110 VPL students from the three campuses completed 28 volunteer projects. This resulted in 1,565 hours of time given to improving their Manor, St. John’s and Dove Springs communities! Members of the Hands On Central Texas team, who work with these kids each week, and YLS members handed out certificates and t-shirts to the students who were dedicated to the program during the 2014-2015 school year, as well as special plaques for the principals of each school. They also received popcorn and their choice of snacks and drinks during the film as a special treat. Underwater Dreams is a documentary about the story of a group of Hispanic high school students from a Title I school who build and enter an underwater robot in a national robotics competition. The students constructed the robot out of low-cost materials from Home Depot, and beat out all of the competing colleges, including powerhouse MIT. The documentary was meant to inspire the middle school students to pursue STEM fields, as well as any other dreams and future goals they have, regardless of their upbringing. Jesse Garcia, a YLS member and engineer at […]

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Webb Students Lead Their Own Volunteer Project

It’s 4 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, and the halls of Webb Middle School are growing quiet. However, three students aren’t part of the stampede of their peers racing for the exits. They’re in a classroom on the second floor, making phone calls to local business owners to enlist help in putting on a St. Patrick’s Day pancake breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. These are the students of United Way for Greater Austin’s Volunteer Project Leaders program, and this isn’t their first rodeo. The kids in the VPL program at Webb have been conducting volunteer projects to help out around their community since the program’s inception four years ago. They’ve organized and led campus cleanups, campaigns to gather thank you notes for school librarians, community needs assessments, and a host of other initiatives designed to encourage their classmates and neighbors to give back to their community in St. John’s. While the idea of middle school students dedicating so much of their free time to philanthropic projects may seem extraordinary to many, it’s a no-brainer to the VPL kids. “What would you do if you just saw someone throwing trash around your neighborhood?” says LaDascious, an 8th grader who’s been a part of the program since he arrived at Webb Middle School. He’s just left a voicemail for a manager at Kerbey Lane Cafe, a frequent UWATX collaborator, asking for pancake mix donations and any helping hands they could provide. Kids in the program get many opportunities to practice this sort of outreach, […]

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