Thursday, July 5, 2012

SHINE for Students

What a creative incentive to show community service!  Can this be adapted for your community or school district!  Can your mentors and mentees participate in something similar?  Beverly

Students SHINE in county program

Brian Maughan
By Brian Maughan, County Commissioner for District 2

Commencement season is over, and this year some 100 central Oklahoma high school and college—students got to don graduation gowns with something extra—a red, white and blue cord that recognized their dedication to community service and volunteerism.

Those cords were awarded to them by the SHINE for Students program I created to encourage young people to get involved in their community. Any Oklahoma County high school or college student can earn the cord and an accompanying certificate by performing at least 100 hours of certified community service work.

The students pick the causes or organizations that benefit from their labors. Some choose to work in school organizations, others devote time to Scout or church groups and still others work at a wide variety of places like animal shelters or nursing homes.

The one thing they all have in common is doing good while they learn the value of volunteerism. For many, those 100 hours they spent helping others in school will become a lifelong habit.

For example, Western Heights High Schools honored 26 SHINE for Students graduates at their commencement. Among the volunteer and community service projects those young people completed were litter pickup, graffiti removal, rehabbing old homes, helping with neighborhood nights out and building playgrounds.

One Western Heights SHINE graduate, Taylor Daniel, was also honored as a state finalist in the Spirit of Community awards program sponsored by Prudential Insurance.

Those honored students joined others from area high schools and colleges in proudly wearing their SHINE cords at graduation. They are among the best examples we have of how young people can get involved in the community and make the neighborhoods better places.

Any Oklahoma County student in grades 9-12 or college can qualify for SHINE for Students by contacting a school counselor or my office at 713-1502. All they have to do is complete at least 100 hours of community service during their school careers. Once that work has been certified by a teacher or official of the benefiting agency, those students will be presented with a SHINE cord and certificate.

Published by The East Word News, Eastern Oklahoma County’s News Source Guest Commentary, 6-14-12; posted with permission of Commissioner Maughan       ret. 6-26-12

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