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15 Kids Teaching Us About Service

Think you know what it means to serve others? Before you say "yes," you might want to check out the 15 finalists of the Students in Service Awards. What these college kids have done for civic service in first quarter of their lives should humble us all. We aren't talking about students volunteering a few hours and calling it quits - these finalists have made a deep, meaningful and lasting impact on their respective communities. To learn more, watch this video with Jennifer Dorr, Executive Director of Washington Campus Connect, who along with Inspireum, created the awards... Congratulations to Rachel Leah Cohen, this year's winner! Take a minute now to look at the summary of accomplishments these students have achieved. You can click their name to see them being interviewed about their project over on ThePulseNetwork.com. Trust me, you'll be glad you did! Casey Allred Founded a nonprofit organization called Effect International. In just one year Effect International has successfully opened a primary school in a rural Indian community of 30,000 people. Alex Becker - Worked with Real Change News in Seattle, Washington to produce a collaborative film that highlights the voices of eight homeless and low-income street newspaper vendors. Steven CarrilloEstablished Lead the Way, a program developed under CAUSE (Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment). It seeks to establish fundamental tools of leadership in the adolescent youth of the Spring Hill community, a location with low SES and little resources. Rachel Cohen Founded Hand2Paw to provide job opportunities and therapeutic experiences for homeless youth in Philadelphia, and increased volunteer help for area animal shelters. Derek Dailey Led a group of college students and college administrators to launch the Westminster Poverty Initiative-Fresh Ideas Food Excess Program whereby leftover food from the dining hall is delivered to the local soup kitchen and homeless shelter in Fulton, MO. Alexa Griffiths Initiated a program for adolescent girls in a residential treatment facility, ClearVision, in Montgomery, Pennsylvania. The project helps young women in trouble with the law gain necessary tools to re-enter society. David Mari Created, planned, and organized two programs, Medfest and Special Olympics Fitness (SO FIT), to improve the health and awareness of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Shelley Ramsey Developed the ESL Initiative in January of 2008 to offer English classes, free of charge, to non-English speaking employees on Trinity University’s campus in San Antonio, Texas. Rachel Rose JacksonWith another colleague, founded The Kayayei Association, a not-for-profit organization that provides on-going relief and support to women and children living on the streets of Accra, Ghana. Joseph Kaifala - Founded the Jeneba Project to provide scholarships to school girls; medical assistance to vulnerable parents, and to build primary and secondary schools. Caitlin Rose RyanStarted Books & Beyond, a service-learning project that engages three unique groups of students in a cross-cultural experience. Rigoberto Sirin-Pichiya - Gained permission from the Tienda Jalisco (a small local Hispanic grocery and convenience store in Cleveland, Tennessee) to set up a free, voluntary health screening booth inside their store to meet and work with individuals of the local Hispanic population on their own turf, in a place where they frequently congregate. Eugenia Soldatos Began Project Identity, currently located at St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen, which provides forms of legal identification i.e. birth certificates, New York States Non Driver ID cards etc…to clients of the soup kitchen. Meghan StangerStarted Swim 4 Success, a student run, non-profit organization in New Orleans that provides free swim lessons to low income kids. John Wagenman – Started The BEAT, which addresses diminishing funding for music education in Ohio’s public schools. J.T. O’Donnell is the founder of CAREEREALISM.com and CEO of CareerHMO.com, a web-based career development company. Photo credit: Shutterstock