In 2017, three Hopewell Valley Central High School students, Sarah Cleveland, Gavin Fowler, and Samuel Fowler, were looking for a special way to celebrate MLK Day in their community. Through their many years in Scouting, the three teens had volunteered for many projects with their troops. This time, they wanted to find a fun way to connect community members of all ages with the many nonprofits in the area. “We hope to raise awareness of the great work that these organizations are doing and the many ways that people of all ages can help,” said Sarah.
In the fall of 2017, Sarah, Sam and Gavin began to make a plan. They reached out to several nonprofits to ask if they would like to participate in a community-wide event at Hopewell Presbyterian Church, where both their Scout troops hold regular meetings.
The service day was a huge success, inspiring the leaders to make it an annual event. The next year, the turnout doubled in size and more nonprofits were represented. Together, volunteers baked over 1000 cookies, tied 19 full-sized fleece blankets for the homeless, made 3000 native “seed bombs,” tied 24 cat blankets, assembled 195 period packs and decorated hundreds of paper bags! They also collected 17 winter coats, 153 bras, recital costumes, and four bags of nonperishable food items.
The teens are now creating an official non-profit to keep their dream alive after they graduate.