Volunteer Tennessee Announces School Seal of Approval Honorees

Volunteer Tennessee’s School Seal of Approval program recently recognized Jefferson County High School for its outstanding commitment to service. Ten schools from across the state were honored at the 2019 Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning in Franklin on February 11.

Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member bipartisan citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs and to advance volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State. Volunteer Tennessee’s board of commissioners launched the School Seal of Approval program in 2017 to provide annual recognition for K-12 schools engaged in exemplary service, service-learning, and volunteerism. The purpose of this recognition is to promote youth engagement in the improvement of their local communities.

“By putting an emphasis on service, schools give students invaluable learning experiences, while also tackling critical needs. We are proud to be able to recognize the Seal of Approval schools for engaging their staff and students in service efforts that benefit the students and local communities alike,” said Volunteer Tennessee Executive Director, Jim Snell.

Student quote from Lauren Collins, Class of 2015- “Service learning provided me with the opportunity to grow as an individual through serving my community. I learned how to use my passions, talents, and abilities to give back to a community that had given so much to me. Service learning was more than just a class; It became a lifestyle. Four years later, I have a full-time job at what was once my service learning site, I am on the Board of Directors for another site, and I continued to stay involved with many other nonprofits in the community throughout my college career. This class helped place me right where I needed to be.”

To be considered for the Seal of Approval, schools complete an application and submit a letter from a school administrator indicating their commitment to service. Critical areas of focus as high quality educational opportunities are food security, mentorship of school aged children, and homelessness, though all focus areas were eligible and encouraged to apply

Lily (Dorothy) and Lissy (Glenda) were two members of the Wizard of Oz cast that performed for all the second graders around our county. Students created the eight set changes and adapted the original story line and songs to teach elementary students about why they should never litter and always try to recycle. This program fulfills one of the county requirements to receive a TDOT grant.

Ethan worked with students in the Life Skills Class on exercising with their new workout equipment and active seating. Ethan and another student, Morgan, helped out one of our special education teachers by creating fun exercises and healthy lifestyle activities each week to teach the importance of health and wellness. Students helped write a grant and were awarded $450 to purchase workout supplies.

Students came up with the idea to host a senior citizen prom to help seniors in our county feel more connected to each other. This year will be our fourth year hosting the event and the original student who proposed the project, has attended every year. The event is free for any senior citizen in our county. Students bring cook all the food and donate it to the event. Everyone involved volunteers to participate and give up their Friday night to host the event. Students plan, promote, decorate, organize, clean up and of course socialize and even dance with the seniors who attend.

Source: Rebecca Campbell