The following video and information comes from Minnetonka Schools:
One hundred forty-four Minnetonka students logged a total of 35,217 hours serving our local, national, and international community during the past year to earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes individuals and groups who are dedicated to serving others.
The youngest honoree was second grader Katherine Tran, who volunteered with a group called A Better Society where she made cards of encouragement to cheer people up. Older students, like Senior Emily Facile, a multi-year recipient of the award, volunteered with her church, took a summer mission trip to Arkansas, and traveled to Peru to help out at a school. Logging the greatest number of hours, Nastaran Nassiri, a sophomore and a multi-year recipient, volunteered 576 hours this past year. She volunteers 3 days a week at the Minnetonka Heights YMCA after school program helping kids with homework, school projects and fun activities. She also helped cook and serve meals at the mosque during the month of Ramadan.
One group from Minnetonka High School earned the Group Gold Award. Backpack Tutoring, with Bob and Diana Davis as advisors, is the largest student organization at Minnetonka High School with more than 400 students participating. Volunteers travel to Minneapolis elementary schools four days each week to tutor at-risk students. They are credited with raising 3rd grade math and reading scores at Ramsey International School by 5 points.
Minnetonka School District’s mission, in part, is to ensure all students envision and pursue their highest aspirations, while serving the greater good. It is that service to the greater good, that giving of self and time to others that the awards celebrate. Minnetonka School District became a certifying agent for the United States President's Volunteer Service Award program in 2007. This program is designed to thank Americans who, by demonstrating their commitment, inspire others to serve. There are three levels of awards, Bronze, Silver, and Gold; awards are differentiated by age and number of hours served.
Laurie Lokar, community service specialist, supports students by connecting with service opportunities. Through TonkaServes.org she works with teachers, students and community members to inspire service. Some students commit all of their service to one group, but most share their time and talent across many groups.
Minnetonka High School students can earn a Varsity Letter by completing at least 150 hours of service, with 75 hours dedicated to one agency or social cause. They must also complete a Reflection Project.
Click on the attached PDF for names of the participants.