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2019 - 2020 Service Spotlights
Will Yocum - Northeast High School
Will Yocum, a Northeast Senior, has been involved with community service for as long as he can remember. It all came naturally to him. As a long time football player, Will has been active in community service and giving back to the community as they have given to the program. He looks at his experience serving with his football teams as, “ a great way of saying thanks for all of the love and support they’ve given”.
The organization Will is involved with the most is Caring Cupboard. He serves as the student board member. Caring Cupboard, a non-profit that serves all of Anne Arundel County for any and all food insecurities and needs, was founded by his dad, Chuck Yocum in late 2018. Will shared that, “During these times we’re living in, the cupboard has been of great help to this county. I love participating in all of the giveaways that we hold. Especially every Saturday at Hilltop Elementary. It’s a great way to start my weekend knowing I’ve helped a little over 200 families a weekend.”
Another organization with which he has served was the Pasadena Buccaneers Youth Football Association, as a youth football coach. He has alsoI read to elementary school students as part of his high school football team service. Additionally, he is a member of the leadership club at the YMCA in Pasadena. Will has been recognized for his service with the Greene Turtle Community Service Award and the George Mills Service Award. Just knowing that his work hasn’t gone unnoticed in the community was such a great feeling.
Will will be attending Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania in the fall where he will study sports broadcasting and journalism and will play football. His freshman year in college will be his fifteenth year playing football. Will stated, “Playing the sport is such an amazing experience and teaches many valuable life skills that I will carry and teach my children. I wouldn’t be the person I am without it.”
When asked about service, Will shared that, “Involving yourself with volunteer services is by far the greatest way to improve yourself and your character.” “Knowing all of the good deeds you provide to your community is just the best feeling in the world, Will added, “ When your community needs help, do not skip out on the opportunity.”
When asked about his time during the stay at home order, Will shared that it actually has been the best thing for me and my family. It’s brought us all much closer. He said, “With my departure to college looming near, we all needed this long extended time together.”
Jake Wanner - Broadneck High School
Jake Wanner is a freshman at Broadneck High School who enjoys serving his community. He got involved with service through his church. His mom was very active in service and he participated in some of the events and found that he has her servant heart.
Jake’s first experience with service was with the Special Olympics. He participated in service with the Special Olympics when he was in first grade. As an athlete, this project was special to Jake. During the year, Jake plays football and baseball, and runs track and field. The Special Olympic’s mission is to develop physical fitness for children and adults with disabilities and will encourage courage and friendships in the community. Jake believes this is very important and looks forward to other opportunities to serve with them.
He and his mom can be found frequently helping others in the community. They have made lunches for the homeless, assisted at Winter Relief, cared for neighbors and church friends, and helped people in the community move. His favorite type of service is serving other in need. He likes it so much because he gets to have direct interaction with those he is serving. One organization he helps frequently is the Maryland Food Bank.
Outside of serving his community, Jake enjoys all things sports and hanging out with his friends. Jake’s future plans are to continue to excel in school, service, and sports. When asked about service learning, Jake states he would recommend serving in the community as it helps and because it is a good thing to do.
Catherine Gilman - Annapolis High School
Even though she is fairly new to serving the community, Catherine Gilman has already made an extraordinary impact. Catherine transferred to Annapolis High School last year and is thrilled that she has been exposed to a large variety of service opportunities. Catherine has been involved in Red Cross, Key Club, FBLA, Environmental Action Club, STEM Club and National Honor Society.
Catherine is also a leader in the Pass, Pick and Play donation drive. This service collects donated sports items and distributes them to kids who would otherwise not be able to participate due to financial hardships. Catherine collects the sporting goods at her school and this year she will be partnering with the Office of Service Learning and Mentorships to hold a drive at the AACPS Board of Education. Catherine devotes her time to Pass, Pick, and Play through the various drives she organizes and at the two day event at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis. Another service she enjoys is coaching a youth soccer clinic with her Annapolis Soccer team during the season. Catherine says she, “Enjoys working with the youth because of the appreciation they have for it.”
Besides service, Catherine enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. She is also a three sport athlete who plays soccer, basketball and tennis. In her upcoming senior year, she plans to have a partial schedule which would allow her to participate in the Early College Access Program at Anne Arundel Community College. Although she has not decided where she will study after AACC, Catherine is very interested in majoring in business.
Student Spotlight written by Kayla Kopf, Annapolis High School; Service Learning and Mentorships Intern
Samantha Howard - Chesapeake High School
Giving back to the community seems to run in Samantha’s family. Since she was young, Samantha, a Chesapeake High School student was taught the importance of giving back. After serving at an elder care center, Samantha realized that the feeling was great. She says, “My favorite way to get involved is to look around and see where the help is most needed.”
She also has volunteered at many other places. She has worked with The Arundel House of Hope, The SPCA, elementary school kids, Sarah’s House and My Sister’s Place. Samantha has completed various service opportunities but her favorite ones include working at women's shelters, food pantries and preparing food for unhoused persons.
Outside of service, Samantha is highly involved in extracurriculars.She is a member of National Honor Society, AVID Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and Fellowship and Christian Athletes. With her free time, she spends it swimming for the YMCA and participating in Girl Scouts of America.
Looking into the future, she plans to take AACC classes her senior and graduate. After that, she hopes to be accepted into UMBC and study nursing in hopes of becoming a trauma nurse.
Samantha recommends service experiences as a way for people to grow and learn more about people and their community. As Samantha reflects on her service experiences she says “Sometimes all someone else needs is for someone to listen and understand them.”
Cheneil Natividad - Glen Burnie High School
Cheneil Natividad finds happiness in serving others. At a young age, Cheneil and her mom started collecting and buying toys and clothing to send to the poverty ridden youth in the Philippines. A quote that motivates Cheneil is “To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own,” by Abraham Lincoln. That was not the only motivation for Cheneil. She was greatly inspired by her Public Service teacher, Mr. McCamon who sparked her inspiration in serving the community.
Outside of school, Cheneil is an active server in her community. She enjoyed serving at Abundant Life’s Christmas Party for Children this past holiday season. There she organized and facilitated games for children whose families were experiencing financial hardships. Her favorite serving opportunity was at an academy where she helped kids learn to deal with emotions. Cheneil says “The rewarding part about it was that the kids were able to take something from the lesson and visibly show growth.” Apart from these service activities, she is the president of the Interact Club, whose sole purpose is to serve and give back to the community. Cheneil also enjoys the little things in life such as reading, longboarding, ice skating and going to the gym.
Cheneil plans to continue to excel in school and discover what she is passionate about. She hopes that in her future job, she will be well respected for her achievements. She encourages others to involve themselves into service. She recently started using the AACPS Service Learning Portal and already has over 30 hours of service with organizations in Anne Arundel County. Cheneil believes that volunteering in different environments will guide students in finding a possible career path. From her own experience, Cheneil says that “Being a student involved in service will allow you to see that showing up is enough to make someone's day.”
Caleb Oh - South River High School
At just 6 years old, Caleb Oh was inspired by the actions of scientist, Jane Goodall. From that moment on, he was eager to take any service opportunity that knocked on his door. Caleb’s ambitious nature, allowed him to do just that.
Caleb established and serves for his own organization called Kid Changemakers, while also being a ninth grade student at South River High School. He also volunteers with other organizations such as Helping Hands America, Blue Ribbon Project, The Glen Burnie House of Hope and many more. One of his favorite service activities is helping run the Aging Up Not Out workshops that teach foster kids valuable life skills that will help them age out of the foster system. When talking about the workshop, Caleb says “It is rewarding to see the impact of providing education creates”.
Caleb stays busy with his extracurriculars as well. He’s involved with Powerhawks Robotics, It’s Academic, Toys for Tots, Mathletes, badminton and Backpacks for Baltimore. He also is trying out for tennis and basketball at South River. Caleb also takes up hobbies outside of school and service. His hobbies include reading, sports, tinkering with electronics and learning.
In the future, Caleb hopes to expand his organization within the county in order to create a larger impact on other communities. Caleb also plans to attend college where he will pursue an education and earn a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
Caleb recommends other students to become involved in community service. He explained his experiences by saying “It is amazing to see the true impact you have on others, and how happy you can make people by simply showing up and helping out”.