ALUMNI IN ACTION: 2007
A cornerstone of the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy is "LIVE. LEAD. Pass it ON!". We believe that leadership is personal, not positional and the biggest challenge is just taking that FIRST step. Often, leadership is inspired by hearing a story, reading an article, and learning from other acts of leadership around us. During our week together at the JFSLA, we help our students develop a "Leadership Project" that they will initiate in their own communities. They pick the project, develop a plan of action, and then bring their project to life in their communities. Here is a sample of some leadership projects that some of our students have initiated in their communities. We are proud of their decision to CHOOSE TO MATTER! Their actions will inspire more to take that first step.
For my leadership project I wanted to do something that didn't just affect my immediate community but also that I was passionate about. Almost three years ago, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Ethiopia with my mom on business. I saw and experienced things there that have influenced me so much
as a person and have changed the way I view certain situations and a lot of my outlook on life. I learned how fortunate I am- how fortunate we all are- to live in the conditions what we do, and I also discovered a lot about hope and finding it in the most unsuspected places. I decided to combine two of my passions by holding a soccer clinic in my community to benefit a girl's clinic in Ethiopia. After contacting an 18 year old girl in Ethiopia named Belene who had started a girl's program of her own called "Fre Hewan", meaning "Seeds of Eve", I held a soccer clinic for youth in my community ages 5-10. Each kid who came to the clinic had to bring a new soccer ball as their admission ticket, which I will donate to Fre Hewan. The program works on teaching young girls about AIDS prevention and education, but also has a sports component, which was perfect for what I was trying to do! It was an amazing and rewarding experience for me, to feel good about myself and to know I was making a difference in the world, if even in small way. My project took a lot of coordination and hard work but if you find something that you truly care about, it becomes easy and it's all worth it in the end! I hope to deliver the soccer balls to Belene and the rest of the girls in February, on a trip to Ethiopia.
"I am the proud mother of Megan Pelino. Here is the information about Megan's fundraising for the Choose Living Foundation this summer. Her effort was a direct result of attending the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Camp in Oakbrook, IL -- both her "spark" to help and finding this specific foundation. The newspaper article was in our weekly local paper, The Hinsdale Doings. The other printout is from the Choose Living Foundation website (www.chooseliving.org). Megan continues to be in contact with the Foundation and Alex Hermstad's family."
I have attached pictures of me when I go to volunteer at the animal shelter. My project that I decided on at camp this summer was to help find homes for animals that are in shelters. When I got back to Arizona, I got on the internet and researched shelters that would take volunteers my age. Most of them want you to be at least 16 years old. I found a place called Arizona Rescue. They are a "no kill" shelter. This means that when they find strays or people give them their dogs, they will never put them down. They contract with several local "doggy day care" places that rent them space for the dogs. Then they find foster families and try to get the dogs adopted.
My job is to walk the dogs. I go every Friday and make sure each dog receives an afternoon walk. I often play with them and take them to a local dog park. I am responsible for signing them in and out and reading the bios of the dogs on their website. I have been volunteering with Arizona Rescue since the end of September. I had to go through a two hour training session to learn about the organization and I also have to attend a training session on proper leash handling.
I love my volunteer position so so much. It is so great to know that I am providing the dogs exercise and love and attention. It is so neat for me to get there and they are all so excited to see me. It feels so good to know that these animals are well taken care of. Even though I am sad when I find out one of them has been adopted, it also makes me so happy that they have found a loving home.
I have the slogan......"Choose to Matter" written all over my binder that I use for school.
Thank you for giving me the chance to tell you about my volunteering.
This is a writing that I did last year which went to the state capital and is now published in do the right thing book which is in the library of congress. I am also on the newspaper committee at my school and plan to help work on the advice column with other people. Also last year I made a shirt that says,"If you are going to fight, fight. Bullying, stand up, reach out make a difference." Another way I am doing my project is setting an example by not being the one who is the bully. But by being the one who stands up for other people when they are being bullied. I thank you very much for your e-mail. I will also keep working hard. Again thank you so much!
Violence is never the Answer
Everyday I walk into school with a plan in my head. A plan that I think no one wants because they are so caught up in doing things already that they don’t even realize it. My plan is to stop bullying at my school. I am tired of people turning to fists for the answer. One day I was sitting at lunch and my friend came up and asked me if she could sit next to me. Of course I said yes. I wouldn’t turn anybody down if they wanted to sit next to me. All of a sudden this girl came where we were sitting and started saying that she was going to beat my friend up. As I was sitting there hearing all of this, my friend is sitting there laughing. When the girl walked away, my friend started talking about what had just happened. She said, “It’s no use fighting her because she is not worth it. Besides I can beat her up in a heartbeat.” As everyone is going Along with this I said, “Why do you always think that going to fist fights are the answer? It doesn’t help.”