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The Pulse: March Edition

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Danica's Making a Difference!

Danica is a force of nature. With purple hair, she would stand out in almost any crowd, but what makes Danica truly unique is the confidence that goes with it. The self-described over achiever has a deep heart for the underdog, the bullied, and the lonely. In other words, she fits into Generation Alive like it’s her second home.

In 6th grade at Lakeside Middle School, Danica had her first GA experience participating in a Something to Eat food packing event. She was hooked. Now 14 and in 8th grade, Danica has been all-in with our programs for two years. On top of school and her work as the 8th grade ASB president, Danica has also been a committed member of the Compassion Council, attended GA camps, served at last year’s IGNITE! Fundraiser & Auction, and has volunteered at almost every Lakeside food distribution in the last year. She thinks she missed one week out of 50.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and help, but I never knew how to and the food distributions have given that to me,” she reflects. “Doing the food distributions, I’ve learned to recognize and have gotten to know people. It’s a way to start building relationships in the community. I’ve learned that I really enjoy helping and giving back, and that I take a lot of things for granted in my life.”

And where Danica goes, she brings other teens along with her, wanting them to share in the experiences she has found to be so personally rewarding. Her mom, Stacy, has often taken on the role of GA mom, transporting a carload of kids back and forth to events.

“Danica has definitely added some much-needed levity to a difficult year by being her most authentic self,” says Jonah Wilkinson, GA Program and Logistics Coordinator. “She is always ready to make us laugh and to suggest some interesting, sometimes outlandish, but always genuine ideas. She’s really just made us appreciate the work we still got to do athough COVID nearly shut us down completely.”

Although the Lakeside food distributions have come to an end, Danica’s story hasn’t. She has big plans for Nine Mile Falls community.

“Personally, the impact I want to make on Nine Mile is to get everyone to come together and do good things, like helping the person next to them, or if they see someone having a bad day, reaching out to see how they’re doing.” she says. “I’d also like to get everyone to spread kindness and compassion, and hopefully we can start up a new Nine Mile Compassion Council with all the kids and teenagers so we can make a bigger impact.”

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Local Food Distributions End

March 11 was our last day distributing meals in Lakeside for the community. Almost a year ago we were asked by Second Harvest if we could use our students and our truck to provide much-needed meals to folks in the Nine Mile and Mead areas. Since that day we have had over 50 students participate in handing out over 100,000 pounds of food. We have worked with thousands of people who have received the meals and spent over 1,000 volunteer hours serving during the pandemic. Sadly, the National Guard has been reassigned and can no longer provide support to Second Harvest effectively ending our food distributions.

This weekly project has been a joy for our program team. It has given our team and the students who we have worked with a real sense of purpose and meaning during these difficult times. Our team has been able to get to know so many of the repeat families who come to get food each week and our student leaders were able to meet the recipients of their service face to face.

“Each of those kids just say over and over again ‘I didn’t realize there was such a need right here’. The awareness, the call to action, it’s just been eye-opening, “ says Lakeside Middle School Principal Keith Browning. “These kids have been coming back week after week after week, and they just love it. I think it just opens their eyes that they have the ability to impact, positively, those that are in need in our area.”

Although we are sad to see the food distributions end, we are excited to see these students continue to engage the needs of their community, working toward a healthier, more vibrant Nine Mile Falls.

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Volunteerism Supports Mental Health

Not only has COVID-19 caused the death of millions globally, but its impact has also taken an enormous toll on the mental health of young people. Remote learning, lockdowns, and general uncertainty have led to skyrocketing depression and anxiety.

Tragically, this has resulted in increased suicide among teens. Like you, our hearts break for the adverse impact this pandemic has had on the next generation and we know that the full impact won’t be known for years to come. This is why Generation Alive is so important. We are empowering youth to serve others in the darkest of times and the positive impact of volunteerism cannot be understated.

Helping others has 7 incredible benefits:

1) Reduces stress

2) Combats depression

3) Prevents feelings of isolation

4) Increases confidence

5) Gives a sense of purpose

6) Ignites passion

7) Makes you happy.

By providing opportunities to serve, we are fighting for the future of our youth!

Will you partner with us to make a difference by joining our SPARK team by making a monthly donation to our mission?

- JJ Vancil, Generation Alive CEO

Source material at www.ableto.com

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