KIRSTI BUCKENDORF, president of Team Inspire and the Hands4Hope Club at ORHS, addresses the audience during Hands4Hope's third Annual Youth Recognition Dinner. Kirsti talked about why she joined Hands4Hope and about her experiences over the last three years with the organization, noting, "Through H4H, I learned the power and positive impact that can come from compassion and action on our community. Serving someone else doesn't just make an impact on their life, it also helps us get a better perspective on our own life." Courtesy photo

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Youth recognized for outstanding community service

By September 6, 2011

More than 100 people were in attendance to applaud local students at Hands4Hope’s recent Youth Recognition Dinner at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District.

Hands4Hope youth volunteers were recognized for collectively dedicating 3,442 hours of community service to those in need in our community over the 2010-11 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 the activities over the past year included supporting the greater Sacramento and El Dorado County homeless communities; preparing care packages for U.S. soldiers; and mentoring at-risk youth in El Dorado and Sacramento counties.  Specifically, Hands4Hope youth volunteers made and delivered 3,170 meals and made 75 blankets for homeless individuals and families. They also gathered 1,700 pounds of toiletries, 3,100 articles of warm clothing and blankets and 8,000 pounds of food donations for those in need, and collected more than $17,000 in cash and gift cards for local food banks and outreach efforts. Over the summer, more than 2,000 needed items were also collected for soldier care packages sent overseas to our troops.

“We have so many great young people who are members of Hands4Hope and participate in so much that we do,” said Bassett. “In addition to demanding school and homework schedules, sports and family commitments, these youth make time to help others, strangers in need. 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. Parents tell me stories about how involvement with Hands4Hope has touched their children’s and their families’ lives and, personally, these kids have all inspired me, challenged me, surprised me and touched my life.”

Jeff England with El Dorado Disposal/Waste Connections, one of Hands4Hope’s Premier sponsors, attended the event, addressing the young audience with a message of “Don’t Waste Your Gifts.” He focused on the members’ individual gifts of service and how meaningful their efforts are to the entire community. Hands4Hope board members at the event included Pam Maxwell from US Bank, T Abraham with Marshall Medical Center, Kevin Barri with Wells Fargo, Kimberly Rumph,  Lois Horning and youth representative Kirsti Buckendorf.

As organization founder, Bassett also recognized four individual youth members for “Director’s Choice” awards: Elena Denner, 11; Caleb Thoms, 9; Sam Phelan, 14; and Kirsti Buckendorf, 16,  for exceptional service, dedication and leadership within the Hands4Hope organization.

Kirsti, with 126 hours served, and Andrew Bassett, with 117 hours, received not only a Platinum Award from H4H for serving 100+ hours, but 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. In addition to these two youth, Jacob Bassett, 11; Hunter Mason, 14; and Sam Phelan, 14, received a Gold Award from H4H and the Presidential Service Award for serving 50+ hours.

To receive the Presidential Service Award, youth younger than 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 or call Jennifer Bassett at (916) 919-5695.

Special to Village Life


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