Two Indiana Juniors Raise Over $2,800 to Help Refugees in Their Community
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Two Indiana Juniors Raise Over $2,800 to Help Refugees in Their Community

The third cycle of the Climate Leaders Fellowship program led teens around the world in designing and launching a volunteer project in their local communities.

After recognizing a need caused or amplified by climate change, students collaborated with local organizations for a donation drive.

The online program is offered in a collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation.

Read our interview with project partners Noelle and Marissa below!

Our names are Noelle Michael and Marissa Roundtree. We are both Juniors enrolled at Zionsville Community High School in Zionsville, Indiana. Both of our favorite subjects in school are science. Outside of school, Noelle enjoys doing dance and Marissa enjoys participating in the Indianapolis Youth Symphony Orchestra.

What specific problem were you addressing in your community?

For our project, we addressed the problem of refugees in our community who have been displaced by climate change not receiving the necessary resources and assistance.

We did this project because we wanted to help people who were struggling during this time and to spread goodwill to the community.

What did you do for your project?

For our project we hosted a serve-a-thon where members of our community would sign up to be volunteers while other members let us know what services they needed to receive.

The volunteers would then do the task that the other community members needed and then instead of paying the person who did the task, they would donate money or household items which would go to the organization Exodus Refugee. This organization helps to provide the necessary resources to refugees in our community who have been displaced by climate related or other disasters.

In addition to this, we also held a collection drive and conducted a hot chocolate stand at one of the middle schools in our school district.

We collected momentary donations as well as common household items and coats. All of this was done throughout our community, at Zionsville Middle School and Zionsville West Middle School.

Which groups of people did you try to get to engage with your project?

We partnered with the National Honor Society to get high school students seeking volunteer opportunities involved. We also advertised the serve-a-thon through community outreach, contacting neighbors on Nextdoor and Facebook.

What were the results? 

We raised around $800 in monetary donations and over $2,000 worth of donations in the form of clothing or items.

How did participating in the Climate Leaders Fellowship make you feel? 

Participating in this fellowship made us feel motivated and inspired by one another and the other students enrolled in the program. We are proud of our results and the impact our project had on the community.

Overall, we are glad we participated in the fellowship because we learned so much and enjoyed meeting like-minded individuals in the community.


About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.