More than 100 people applauded local students at Hands4Hope’s fourth annual Youth Recognition Dinner at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District on Aug. 25.
Youth volunteers with Hands4Hope were recognized for collectively dedicating 6,100 hours of community service to those in need in our community over the 2011-12 year. Additionally, several local youth were singled out for going above and beyond in their service and leadership efforts, according to Jennifer Bassett, founder and executive director of Hands4Hope – Youth Making a Difference.
Some of Hands4Hope’s activities over the past year included supporting the Greater Sacramento and El Dorado County homeless communities; community and school drives for toiletries, clothing and blankets, and items to fill care packages for U.S. soldiers; and mentoring at-risk youth in El Dorado County. Hands4Hope youth volunteers made and delivered 3,012 meals and made 75 blankets for homeless individuals and families. They also gathered 1,700 pounds of toiletries, 5,000 articles of warm clothing and blankets, and 10,781 pounds of food donations for those in need, and collected more than $16,000 in cash and gift cards for local food banks and outreach efforts.
“We have so many wonderful youth that volunteer with us and give incredible amounts time to the serving others,” said Bassett. “They are kind and generous with those they serve and with each other and they inspire me and so many others everyday. Because of this selflessness, it is important to make sure they know how special they are to this community and how much they are impacting those they serve.”
Ensuring that the young people in attendance understand their importance, Tammy Thompson, director of the Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom and the evening’s guest speaker. told the youth, “I believe it is so important for you to know that what you are doing really matters. You bring hope to our community. You make an impact in someone else’s life and that has a ‘ripple’ effect.”
Hands4Hope Board members at the event included Pam Maxwell from USBank, Oak Ridge Vice Principal Pam Bartlett, Charles Sharp of Blue Shield, Debi Harlow with El Dorado Waste Connections, T Abraham with Marshall Medical Center, Kevin Barri with Wells Fargo, Kimberly Rumph, as well as youth representatives Kirsti Buckendorf and Emily Abraham.
The Youth Board was represented by Emily Abraham, Kirsti Buckendorf, Andrew Bassett, Mackenzie Ramirez, Guneet Gill and Connor Cahill (all from Oak Ridge), along with Julia Phillips from Ponderosa and Jamin Sagay from Jesuit.
Bassett recognized individual youth members for “Director’s Choice” awards, Brayden Kono, 11; Bailee Seo, 14; Claire Snyder, 14; Emily Abraham, 16; and Kirsti Buckendorf, 17, for exceptional service, dedication and leadership within the Hands4Hope organization.
Buckendorf with 251 hours served, Samita Dutta with 153, Andrew Bassett with 126 hours and Emily Abraham with 104 hours received a Platinum Award from H4H for serving 100+ hours as well as also the Presidential Service Award from the office of President Obama, which included a personalized certificate of achievement and a congratulatory letter from the president. Jacob Bassett, 13; Ryan Thoms, 13; Bailee Seo, 14; Claire Snyder, 14; and Destry Fitzpatrick, 14, received a Gold Award from H4H and the Presidential Service Award for serving 50+ hours.
To receive the Presidential Service Award, youth under 14 must have logged 50 or more volunteer hours to be eligible, and youth 15 and older must have logged 100+ hours.
Hands4Hope is a non-profit, non-denominational, youth driven outreach organization based in El Dorado Hills. The organization’s mission is to grow the next generation of socially responsible citizens by engaging youth in community outreach. Hands4Hope is comprised of youth volunteers ranging in age from kindergarten through 12th grade.
For more information visit hands4hopeyouth.org or call Jennifer Bassett at (916) 919-5695.