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Published March 24, 2014

Raleigh High Schools Turning Teens Into Superheroes

When I was in high school, I had an itch I couldn’t quite scratch. Inside there was a fire burning, a voice urging me to go out and make a big difference, but I lacked a deeper understanding of the issues in my community. And, I lacked guidance on how to tackle those issues.

Ever ask yourself what you’d change about your high school experience if you had the chance?

If there had been a service learning elective at my school that would enable me to study important community issues in-depth, identify causes to engage with, and help me hone my personal leadership skills, I would have jumped at the chance to enroll and become a volunteer superhero.

As it happened, I had neither the opportunity nor the awareness to start learning these things until after high school. I can only imagine how my life would be different if I’d had that chance, if I’d learned these vital things as a teenager; if I’d have gotten involved earlier and made progress on more issues that are important to me.

Through Activate Good‘s Activate Schools program, I now have a chance to give other students — other teens with fires in their bellies — the opportunity and guidance to learn these things, to start putting their passion and energy into something they’ll be extremely proud of.

RELATED: 10 Service Projects for Kids, Teachers, and the Classroom.

A lot of the time, these are kids that wouldn’t be given the opportunity to lead or told they have any kind of power to make a difference. Showing kids they CAN lead and CAN make an impact is life-changing. It was for me.

Raleigh High Schools Turning Teens Into Superheroes - 1

Activate Schools co-chairs Rachel Kokos and Jen DeNeal with students enrolled in our Leadership & Service class at Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Throughout the Leadership & Service curriculum we use in the Activate Schools program, students learn about things like homelessness and poverty, education, environmental conservation and much more.

They meet local nonprofit and community leaders, get a chance to study many sides of an issue, and develop their OWN ideas for service projects to impact one of the causes they’re passionate about.

And to show we’re serious about empowering these students, we give the top scoring service project idea in each classroom a $250 award to carry out their project and learn by doing.


Here’s how you can help.

On Sunday, March 30, we’re hosting Serving Up Spring, a pop-up brunch to benefit the Activate Schools program. Our goal is to raise at minimum $1500, the amount we need to fund student service project ideas in six classrooms this year. I think with your help we can raise even more, and utilize additional funds to support this program and work to expand it to more schools in the Triangle.


Activate Good’s vision extends beyond the work we do day to day to connect folks to volunteer needs with area causes. We hope to, through our day to day work as well as our ongoing work in schools, help develop a culture of do-gooding, where opportunities to help the community exist everywhere and for everyone. We think teens have a lot to offer, and that local high schools are a great place to start.

RELATED: A Lesson in Empowerment – Why Kids Should Volunteer.

Please join us on Sunday, March 30 at HQ Raleigh’s new space in downtown Raleigh. You probably love brunch anyway, so why not brunch while supporting this dream of building a community in which citizen involvement and helping others is part of everyday life? Plus, there will be delicious crepes, chicken, pastries, coffee, and more. Really, there’s no downside.


Register online as soon as possible so we can order enough crepes! And, if you’re feeling generous, we have a few sponsorship opportunities. We’re so thankful for your support.

I hope to see you there.

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  • Amber


  • Volunteer. Nonprofit ninja. Idealist. Lover of art, music, languages, kung fu, & sappy heroic tales. All my articles.

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