As one of the newest partners to the United Way Youth Venture program, the Oakmont Regional High School students have already begun to show their dedication to their community through their Ventures. With the support of their school and community, students will begin to develop skills that will ensure their Venture success within the community and use this new knowledge and passion for service to create a bright future for the Ashburnham-Westminster region.
Teams Launched to Date:
Growing Towards the Future
Hoping to help support the EXCEL program at Oakmont, three boys will be building two raised garden beds and donating them to the EXCEL program, which will allow students to work in these gardens. The boys’ inspiration stems from the love for one of their basketball teammates who is in the EXCEL program. They know it is one of the most rewarding feelings to make someone’s day. They hope to do this for more of the EXCEL students and the community in general. Since the EXCEL students are among the most vulnerable at Oakmont, the ultimate goal is for the EXCEL students to donate crops to local food banks and help them to feel empowered by giving them a unique opportunity to create something and help others that they might not usually get to experience.
APUSH4PEACE is a Youth Venture Team made up of an entire 11th grade AP US History class. As a class they started learning about the Marshall Plan, and became inspired by the idea of giving foreign aid and spreading American prosperity. The inspiration came right as their school held their first Unified Basketball Game, which helps non-traditional learners, and inspired them to discover their first fundraiser idea - a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Funds raised at this event are supporting the construction of high school latrines and sanitation facilities in Cambodia.
This group of girls remember being in elementary school and feeling uncomfortable or uneasy around other students who were different from them. Now, in high school they are members of the Friends Club which is an inclusive group of students who work to create positive relationships and experiences for the special needs students at the school. The Team is bringing this club to the elementary schools in their district, so younger students have an opportunity to build friendships and relationships with other students. They are hosting a fundraising bowling night to raise money to offset the cost for students to participate in the future activities of the Friends Club Jr.
Can You Relate?
This Team creates and publishes videos on issues that teens face in high school and broadcast on their school television station. They make videos that spotlight issues that aren't always talked about day-to-day. They want students to see another point of view. Some videos they produce cover issues such as eating disorders, what it's like to be in foster care, self esteem and how to make friends.
Paws for Psych
This Venture Team, with a passion for both psychology and animals, learned that individuals with a mental health challenge who may benefit from having a therapy dog, can’t always afford to have one. The Paws for Psych group is raising awareness of this issue and the benefits, as well as fundraising for locals who cannot afford the average expense of $5,500 to adopt a therapy animal on their own. They sell homemade dog toys and they host a “Pace for Paws” race at their school to raise funds and bring dogs and owners together for some fun.
AAOA, Adolescents Against Opioid Abuse
Each personally affected by the deadly opioid epidemic that is raging across the United States today, the students of AAOA want to go beyond the lessons provided at school about opioid abuse. These students are driven to increase awareness of warning signs and problems that result from opioid abuse within the student body, and work with local opioid-focused nonprofits to raise funding for the needs of victims and their families.
ETA (Empowering Teens with Anxiety)
Understanding first-hand the daily struggles that youth with anxiety face when trying to survive the stresses of school and peer pressure, the students of ETA are working hard to create a safer environment in their schools. Together, these members have already taken steps to create new sensory rooms in schools across the Ash-West district where students can safely escape the pressures of school to resolve any issues they may be facing and they have tied these efforts into increasing awareness. With their efforts they hope to end the stigma of students who face anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.
LIFE (Leaders Innovating, Fascinating, and Educating)
Distressed by the lack of real world knowledge they and their peers gain before they transition from high school to college or a career, the students of LIFE decided to contribute life skills training for fellow students. Hoping to teach skills ranging from understanding financial credit, doing laundry, and cooking a decent meal, the Team partners with community members and other students to teach these skills to elementary, middle, and high school students. It is their hope that their club will expand across the region and help balance the educational needs of students beyond the classroom.
The Spartan Center
As long-time student athletes, the founders of the Spartan Center know the power that a strong sense of school spirit and community have on their ability to achieve greatness both on and off of the field. In order to create an Oakmont atmosphere which brings the entire student body and greater Ashburnham-Westminster community together, these students have created a new program which will entice greater participation and attention in the games and activities of Oakmont student groups including football and basketball games, band competitions, and many others. Through the creation of spirit-themed events and competitions at these activities, these students hope to engage a much greater part of the community population to celebrate their school’s successes and in turn support the improved behavior, academics, and extracurricular achievements of the Oakmont students.
Oakmont Environmental Association
In the hopes to make Oakmont a shining example of environmental progress, the students of the Oakmont Environmental Association have made it their mission to educate their peers and support the school’s effort to become more sustainable. Their first project will be to help save water and reduce the Oakmont student body’s reliance on plastic bottles which continue to destroy the environment through the implementation of new water bottle refilling stations throughout the school. In addition, the OEA will be selling eco-friendly reusable water bottles and other environmentally friendly products which will help get more community members and Oakmont students to focus on the use of these items to become more environmentally conscious in their personal lives.
Pathway to Successful Health Development (PTSD)
After learning about the issue of PTSD within their psychology class, the girls of this Venture decided that they wanted to not just learn about this important subject, but do something more to help those suffering from this problem. Together, the group will be putting together care packages for local programs which work with those who have PTSD and use the care packages as support systems when needed.
As members of the school’s band, choral, and other music programs, the girls of Harmonic Heroes know how important music can be on the growth of a student. This team will be working directly with the music programs of the Ash-West district to not only raise money for the current school programs but additionally help those students who a more impoverished have access to free instruments.