EARN THE PRESIDENTIAL VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the award to recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too. The award honors the volunteers who are using their time and talents to solve some of the toughest challenges facing our nation.
TRACK YOUR HOURS BELOW!
Teens (11-15) - 100+ hours
Young Adults (16-25) - 250+ hours
Valia Kaliotzakis (Casa Grande Union) and Caitlyn Richter (Mission Heights Prep)receive scholarship checks from the staff of the Casa Grande Alliance for their exemplary service in the CGYA.
“The Youth Alliance has given me the opportunity to work with likeminded people who all desired the same end-goal of bettering our community. Through the CGYA I was given the opportunity to work a positive group of youth and adults and participated in many meaningful discussions and brainstorming sessions that led to collaborative projects. I am grateful to have found people in the community who wanted to step up when others were hesitant. We made the best out of every circumstance and problem that was thrown in our direction. As someone who has always felt like an outcast for speaking up, I was given the opportunity to constantly speak what was on my mind through the Casa Grande Youth Alliance.”
- Valia Kaliotzakis
"Being a member of the Casa Grande Youth Alliance was a game changer in my life. When I started as a Freshman I struggled with voicing opinions and ideas. The CGYA provided an open space where every single idea was accepted. I was able to talk to people my own age and supportive adults and work with them to create opportunities to help our community. I would highly recommend membership to those looking for service! " - Caitlyn RIchter
This video was created for one of our frequent Saturday morning service projects!
The purpose of the Casa Grande Youth Alliance is to mobilize youth to be informed on the greatest challenges and needs of their community and to implement service projects that impact their communities in a positive way. The purpose is also as follows:
The Youth Alliance will consist of a diverse body of students, ranging from seventh to twelfth grade for the period starting August 1, 2022, and ending July 31, 2023. Membership is open to middle and high school students in the Casa Grande area.
What is in it for members?
YPAR (Youth-led Participatory Action Research) is an innovative approach to positive youth and community development based in social justice principles in which young people are trained to conduct systematic research to improve their lives, their communities, and the institutions intended to serve them.
The Casa Grande Youth Alliance will meet a minimum of once a month throughout the 2022-2023 school year. By fully participating in the Alliance, students will learn how to serve on a board, participate in committees and work teams, plan service projects and events, become leaders in their communities, and learn how to be a voice for youth in their community.
Youth Alliance members may serve up to 6 years, with a re-commitment form to be completed after each year. Re-appointment will be determined by participation and conduct and is at the discretion of the youth and adult leaders of the Youth Alliance. Only Youth Alliance members in good standing will be considered for serving additional terms.
Agreements of Membership
Serving as a member of the Youth Alliance requires a high degree of commitment, time, and energy. Applicants will need to be able to dedicate real time and effort to the Youth Alliance.
Benefit of Membership
All members in good standing with the Casa Grande Youth Alliance will have the opportunity to earn $500 in scholarship funds to be awarded upon high school graduation. A student will be considered a member in good standing by earning monthly participation points for meeting the Agreements of Membership mentioned above.
Activating Your Voice - Hannah Testa
MLK DAY OF SERVICE - 2022
CASA GRANDE — Members of a local student advocacy group gave a presentation to the Casa Grande Union High School District Governing Board Tuesday about youth wellness.
Casa Grande Alliance Executive Director Bob Shogren told the board about a survey conducted with the affiliated group Casa Grande Youth Alliance. He said he wanted his organization to understand the impact of COVID-19 on school life.
“A year ago when everybody returned to school we were meeting with kids and everybody kind of thought about how do kids deal with school being online and what has the experience been like,” Shogren said. “So we put together a survey and an awful lot of kids did the survey.”
Valia Kaliotzakis, a junior at Casa Grande Union, told the board she had analyzed the mental health aspect of the survey.
“What we found was that youth felt they were not important in the community and that their lives don’t make a difference,” Kaliotzakis said. “We also found that the stress levels are at an all-time high since COVID and school started. These issues can have an impact on academic performance on their youth, so they turn to social media as a crutch to escape.”
Roberto Rivera, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois, also addressed the board. Rivera said he had flown in from Chicago to speak about what had been presented.
“One of our findings with youth is that they need to have positive developmental relationships with adults,” Rivera said. “This must be adults rather than parents because so many of us know as parents, things go through one ear and out the other. Other adults can have tremendous authority and impact the way young people see themselves and their purpose in the world.”
Nick Isles, a ninth grader at Casa Grande Union, told the board he hoped they would listen to the findings.
“I focused on stresses, substances and school in the survey,” Isles said. “We did find a lot of good results. A vast majority of schools and teachers encourage youth to improve and to try hard on a daily basis and they do feel they are being prepared for their future.”
By MELISSA ST. AUDE, Casa Grande Dispatch, Jun 23, 2021 Updated Jun 28, 2021
CASA GRANDE -- After noticing a lack of art on the walls of an area shelter, a group of teens decided to take action, creating more than a dozen paintings that they then donated to Against Abuse Inc.
Each inspirational painting celebrates women and motherhood.
“Art has a way of touching all of us at our very core,” said Against Abuse Deputy Director Maria-Elena Ochoa. “These talented young artists have created artistic pieces that are both beautiful and truly inspirational. It is incredible how their gift of expression has actually caused an uplifting shift in the shelter environment, promoting healing and resiliency from domestic violence and trauma through art.”
Fifteen area student artists with the Casa Grande Youth Alliance spent more than 200 hours over the course of three months to paint the pieces for the art collection, which aims to give strength and inspiration to Against Abuse clients.
Creating the art was a collaborative project between the Casa Grande Youth Alliance, the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate program and Casa Grande Daybreak Rotary Club, said Casa Grande Alliance Executive Director Bob Shogren.
“It was quite remarkable how the youth came together to create the pieces over the past three months. So much thought and care was put into each project,” he said.
Canvases and painting supplies were purchased with a grant the Rotary Club obtained through Rotary District 5500 funding, Shogren said.