• Sammy's Pizza celebrated their 65th birthday by choosing to give back to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Sammy's locations in Cloquet, Duluth, Hermantown, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and International Falls, donated 65% of proceeds earned on the final day of their anniversary celebration to local DAV chapters. The money raised totaled $16,964.
• Mayor Emily Larson proclaimed April 26, 2019 as "Global Youth Service Day." On this day, children and adults from all over Duluth gathered at the Harbor Highlands Community Center to celebrate with food, games, and special guests, but the highlight of the evening was hearing stories of each group's "Global Youth Service Day Project." From care packages to bake sales, neighborhood cleanup projects to visiting nursing homes - hundreds of kids worked hard to make a difference in our community. Over the last several months, each group has gone through the stages of service learning - identifying and researching an issue, finding partners, planning a project to make an impact, and taking steps carrying it out. Research shows service projects like these not only build critical social skills and a connection to the community, but also shows youth they can have power over community problems.
Global Youth Service Day projects are implemented annually around the world by thousands of different groups. Here in Duluth, True North AmeriCorps members play a key role in carrying out these projects. True North AmeriCorps members support children year round in school, after school and over the summer. Members serve in over 30 locations including the Duluth YMCA KEY Zone Programs, Neighborhood Youth Services, Valley Youth Center, and the Damiano Center's Kids' Kitchen.
• Essentia Health launched the Healthy Schools Challenge this year to encourage and support innovative programs to improve student health. The challenge offered a $2,500 award to projects and programs designed to boost physical activity, improve nutrition or address mental health and substance abuse issues in our local schools with a goal of promoting the health of our youth. St. Louis Family Services Collaborative partnered with Essentia Health on the challenge offering matching grants to all award winners in St. Louis County. The six projects and programs chosen, which were submitted by school staff, have won the Essentia Health, Healthy Schools Challenge. They include:
Lowell Elementary School of Duluth, Healthy Body Healthy Mind-Nature Playscape. Lowell will develop a nature playscape for recess and classes. The project will enhance the school's outdoor environment and students' learning;
Virginia High School, eCHECKUP TO GO. Virginia High School wants to change its culture around substance abuse from hiding and fear of punishment to acceptance and asking for help in recovery without consequence. The school will incorporate the eCHECKUP TO GO program after a student's first violation involving alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Counselors, administrators and REACH instructors will then follow-up with students. Students also will create awareness campaign around substance abuse.
Vandyke Elementary School, of Coleraine, Kids' Kitchen. The school will create a Kids' Kitchen, a space for students and families to enjoy a farm-to-table experience that includes nutrition education, kitchen skills, meal preparation and food safety. The school is collaborating with the Coleraine Public Library, Second Harvest Food Pantry, University of Minnesota SNAP education, Get Fit Itasca, Children's Mental Health, Greenway Boys and Girls Club and the Greenway Wellness team.
School District of Maple, Sensory Path/Flexible Seating. Northwestern Elementary School plans to create a better learning environment by purchasing a sensory path and several flexible seating options for students. The program recognizes that physical activity is linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior.
Chisholm KIDS PLUS, Voice in Prevention. Chisholm KIDS PLUS students will develop an awareness campaign for their peers on the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. They'll also focus on the social norms and use of tobacco projects.
Spooner Area School District, XC Skiing in PE. The Spooner School District will purchase cross-country skis for students in grades 5-8 to use during physical education classes, maximizing the outdoor space and public trails their school is surrounded by.
Essentia Health plans to implement the Healthy Schools Challenge annually.
• Thanael Certa-Werner of Superior was initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Dakota Wesleyan University in Baton Rouge, La.
• The University of Wisconsin-Superior named Marta Larson, Sydney Mastey, Opeyemi Omiwale and Emily VerWay as the recipients of the 2019 Chancellor's Leadership Award. This award is given to members of the graduating class who are committed to personal growth and who have made a positive contribution to their peers, campus and community.
As a double major in mathematics and transportation and logistics management, Larson was a leader in several projects. She created and implemented a Girl Scout Transportation Day and an Air and Space Camp for High School Girls. These both became annual events much to the efforts of Larson's leadership. She also was a research assistant on a grant to develop a program to increase supply chain management internships in the aerospace and aeronautical industry. Larson, from Anoka, Minn., has also been a member of the Transportation and Logistics Club since she was a freshman.
A Becker, Minn., native, Mastey is majoring in legal studies and with an individually designed minor in conflict resolution. She has strengthened her education with professional certificates in paralegal studies, ethical leadership, human resource management, and mediation. As a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow, Mastey was chosen from an elite pool of students to be part of the national network of engaged student leaders. Having earned a 3.960 cumulative GPA over her four years, she will be attending law school upon graduation to become a prosecutor. Actively involved with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA), Mastey hopes to begin her career in family law at a women's shelter or similar nonprofit organization.
Omiwale, from Abuja, Nigeria, has been an active participant in multiple student organizations including the World Student Association, Stimulus Club, and the African Student Association. She has also been deeply committed to and involved with the Black Student Union - serving as the club's president this year, as well as being one of the main organizers of the annual Soul Food Dinner. Omiwale, a double-major in economics and business administration with a minor in communication, is also a lead RISE mentor, mentoring underrepresented minority students that are new to UW-Superior.
VerWay is a double major in business management and music. She has a cumulative 3.856 GPA and is an accomplished musician and pianist. VerWay, from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., applies her education and shares her talent with the community, teaching piano lessons to children and youth in the Twin Ports and Twin Cities. She is also a member of the Yellowjacket volleyball team and was named All-UMAC First Team. Off the court, VerWay also played a pivotal role in the Athletic Department's community service.
• Michael Kelly of Duluth was presented with the 2019 Man of Extraordinary Service Award. He is one of four Saint John University, in Collegeville, Minn., students to receive the honor. Kelly received a monetary award of $2,500 with funding for the award provided by the generosity of anonymous donors. This honor is to recognize the work of Saint John students who are characterized by personal commitment to service, which promotes community, justice, work with others to accomplish a greater good and thoughtful reflection about service in light of Benedictine Values and/or Catholic Social Teaching. Kelly, a graduate of Duluth East High School, is a junior individualized neuroscience major. A committed humanitarian, he exercises his impact on the college community through his participation in the Peer Resource Program and the Student Health Assistant Program, a volunteer research opportunity for approximately 30 students at St. Cloud (Minn.) Hospital. He also volunteers at the hospital, transporting patients through the building and ensuring quality care. Kelly takes great joy in working in the Academic Advising Department. As a first-generation college student, he established the First-Generation Organization to find resources students need to succeed. Alternative Break Experiences and the VIDA Volunteer Program provided opportunities to serve in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
• The Dorothy Molter Museum announced that Ely Memorial High School graduating senior, Mackenzie Peterson, is this year's recipient of its annual Wilderness First Responders' Scholarship, which is awarded to residents of northeastern Minnesota pursuing a degree or continuing education in the medical field. The scholarship was established by the Dorothy Molter Museum to honor Dorothy Molter's legacy of serving thousands of visitors who came to her for medical care during their wilderness trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.