Jordyn Schara, Amazing Kid of the Month
By Kasey Dallman, AKOM Writer
Quote of the Month
“Volunteering helps kids build better lives for themselves and the world through the experience of helping others.”
-Jordyn Schara, 17-year-old non-profit connoisseur
Jordyn Schara, 17-Year-Old Non-Profit Connoisseur
After participating and excelling in community service projects, Jordyn Schara was inspired to start her own non-profit peer mentoring program. Since then she hasn’t backed down. Jordyn works to help other kids start non-profit organizations, has projects to encourage literacy, and educates the public about prescription and Over-the-Counter drug abuse.
We think that Jordyn’s story is truly amazing! Read more to learn about all of Jordyn’s projects and how you can start your own non-profit organization.
Helping Our Peers Excel
Jordyn started Helping Our Peers Excel (HOPE) after a community service project of hers won the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Jordyn was flown out to Washington D.C. to accept the award and was inspired that the majority of the other kids their had 501(c)3 non-profit organizations.
When Jordyn arrived back home HOPE was born, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping other teens start their own programs. Currently, she is helping a teen with an annual garage sale project, assisting another teen with a reading program, and helping several pre-teens get started with their first projects. Jordyn has also helped a teen start an anti-bullying project.
“I either meet with these kids directly or talk to them on the phone and explain what their options are for projects, how to start a project, how to raise funds, and how to work with civic organizations, media, government, businesses, etc,” Jordyn explained.
Jordyn has won over $20,000 of grants through HOPE that have gone to her high school and towards other community service projects. “My goal is to provide seed grants to teens to start their programs,” she said.
Jordyn believes that volunteerism helps kids to build better lives for themselves and the world. “I am on a mission to mobilize the energy, ingenuity and compassion of young people to discover their power and potential to solve real world problems through service and service learning.”
Promoting Literacy All Over the World
One of Jordyn’s many accomplishments is Project READ, or Reading Equipment for America’s Defenders. The initiative, started by Jordyn and her brother, was created to send reading materials to American troops. “Our military was missing news from home so we decided to collect newspapers, magazines and books.” Along with reading materials, they also sent snacks, games, bug spray, and personal letters to the troops.
To start Project READ, Jordyn and her brother put collection boxes out in a few towns and advertised with flyers and local newspapers. “Our communities quickly supported us,” Jordyn said.
After all the hard work, Jordyn and her brother collected over 2,000 pounds of reading material to send to American troops.
Jordyn’s goal of promoting reading didn’t just stop with sending reading material to troops though. Jordyn’s project Comics for Change (C4C) donates comic books and graphic novels to inspire young people to develop a love of reading.
Comic books and graphic novels can cost up to $15, making it hard for children who can’t afford to purchase their own reading material. So far Jordyn has donated over 1,300 comics, reaching over 60,000 youth at homeless shelters, libraries, clinics, hospitals, police departments, and food pantries.
Since starting C4C, Jordyn has already seen the excitement and gratitude from children and parents. Jordyn hopes that this kind of community support will not only foster a love of reading, but will also help students achieve academically. “I don’t want anyone to have to feel the pain that comes from the isolation and embarrassment of illiteracy.”
Creating a Nation-Wide Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program
Jordyn created Wisconsin Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal (WI P2D2) to educated the public about prescription drug and Over-the-Counter drug abuse. In addition to raising awareness of this kind of drug abuse, Jordyn also educates the public on how to dispose of unwanted drugs and how to safely store drugs.
“Our medicine cabinets are now the new drug dealers,” Jordyn said. “The prescription drugs and Over-the-Counter medicines that we leave unsecured in our medicine cabinets are fueling the newest drug problem among America’s teens — Prescription and Over-the-Counter drug abuse.
At the age of 14, Jordyn applied for and won a state grant to help her community start a drug collection program! So far she has held multiple drug collective events, created six permanent drug collection programs, hosted a flu shot clinic, made a free sharps disposal, created a free mercury thermometer swap, and helped keep over 90,000 pounds of drugs out of the hands of young children and teens!
Jordyn’s work doesn’t stop there. She has also purchased 24/7 drop off boxes for communities and has worked with local teens to decorate the containers! Jordyn works with and mentors teens all over the country, and is now a national spokesperson for teen activism. Since partnering with her mentor, P2D2 has spread to 22 other states! How incredible!
A Lifetime of Service
Jordyn doesn’t think of her service and projects as chores, but rather as rewards. “Many benefits come from this hard work,” she said. “Self-confidence, better public speaking, networking connections, awards, scholarships, grants, etc.”
Jordyn’s community service has taken her all over the world. She has attended award ceremonies in New York and Washington, D.C., and this past summer Volvo selected Jordyn to attend their international environmental award contest in Sweden. Jordyn was also chosen by Coca-Cola to carry the torch at the Olympics in London!
In addition, she has been featured in a variety of magazines, including Girls Life, Justine, and Family Circle.
Jordyn hopes to study broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She aspires to be a war correspondent.
We can’t wait to see what Jordyn does next! And in the meantime, you too can become involved in community service projects. “Get outside and do some good,” Jordyn said. “You will be amazed at how good it feels.”