Service Day Toolkit

Building community in the community by engaging residents of all ages in fun, hands-on projects that benefit local and global non-profits.

Photo of Shrey G. P.
3 1

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

11/06/2003

Where are you located:

Most of the impact is being made in Savage, Minnesota 55378.

We live in Savage, Minnesota 55378.

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: http://servicedaysaturday.wixsite.com/savage
Link to a news clip about Service Day 2018: http://kstp.com/news/savage-middle-schooler-shrey-pothini--brings-community-together-to-help-others-service-day-saturday/4875330/?cat=12196
Commercial for Event: https://www.facebook.com/SavageTV/videos/1574867399248149/

Date Started

01/19/2015

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

When I was three years old, I visited a homeless youth shelter in Minneapolis that my mom volunteered at. When I saw how these youth had very little items of their own, I decided I wanted to help. I started by collecting new bath towels on my birthday instead of presents. This past year, with the help of businesses and schools, I collected 950 new bath towels to last three shelters a year. Over time, I have collected over 3000 towels.
In third grade, I started a service club in my school to teach fellow students about needs in the community to get them passionate about volunteering. This year was the sixth year of the club, and we had over 85 students in grades K-5 involved. I have also started clubs in other schools in my district.
When I was in fifth grade, I expanded the project to the entire community, and called the youth led event, "Service Day Saturday."

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Often times, volunteer activities and exposure to local and global needs is presented to youth when they are in high school, sometimes middle school. The problem is that youth of ALL ages can be engaged in meaningful projects to help others but they don't get opportunities to learn and feel empowered. By providing this opportunity, I hope to inspire children of all ages to use their time, talents, or treasures to help others.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Helping others can be fun, and my solution is to have a service fair, where entire cities can come together to do fun, simple, hands on activities that benefit local and global non-profits. Examples include a city-wide food drive, repacking bulk laundry soap into single load containers for homeless shelters, creating bead bracelet kits to provide entertainment for children in hospitals, collecting gently used books, and so much more. Participants travel from station to station to learn about a non-profit, then do an activity to help that non-profit. The hope is that people will be inspired to help these organizations on their own, throughout the year. By involving local government, businesses, schools, and community groups, there truly is a collective effort that can make a big impact. Also, this type of event will be free to those who attend, so that cost isn't a barrier to volunteering and helping others.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Currently, when families and businesses are involved with our project they learn about needs in the community and do simple, hands-on service projects to benefit nonprofits that help stop the issue. There is a service fair at our event that has 12-15 service projects, and there is also lunch, dessert, and other activities for people to do. Everything at our event is free, so people are able to attend no matter what their background is. This all takes place on the Saturday of the weekend of Global Youth Service Day, hence the name Service Day Saturday.

Our hope is that we can create a kit that other cities can use to help them start their own day of service. This way, people are getting exposure to issues in the community and create a collective impact around the country and world in a similar way that we are. This type of event can be replicated in any city with passionate volunteers.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

While their are other service fairs in our country and even our state, not many are focused or led by youth. Our event is extremely unique because it is led by elementary (K-5) and middle school (6-8) students. We also put lots of effort into reaching out to families in our community with younger children. Our belief is that the younger someone starts learning make a positive impact, the better. At our event, we see children who haven't even turned one yet doing service projects. Although they might not completely understand what they are doing, it is something quite extraordinary and unique.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Service Day Saturday has brought around 3700 people to the event over the past four years (1500 this year). However, many more people are involved through work, school, or by hosting their own project or collection drive. We estimate over 5000 people were involved with Service Day this past year alone. On top of this, over 10,000 people were helped by the projects completed at our event.

Because we know how much of an impact Service Day has on the community, we want to be able to help other cities establish their own event. We think a toolkit with resources, information, and ideas on how to get a day of service started for other cities can not only create a larger collective impact, but also help the community spread volunteerism.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Service Day Saturday has made huge collective impact in the local community and even in other parts of the globe. We know as youth, that not everybody believes children can make a difference. In our city, we have proven how young people can have an enormous impact, and we want to see that spread to other areas in our country and world.

Creating a day of service is hard, especially when you are making the event 100% free for attendees. We have had enough experience with planning this event, that we would like to pass on our knowledge by creating a toolkit other cities can use to make their own Service Day. This kit would be comprised of ideas for projects, ways to earn funds, how to structure their event, as well as more key information.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

In order to make our vision a reality, we are in need of some key resources. Money is one of the main factors that plays into creating a toolkit for others to use, as well as technology and marketing support. We also need help creating a social media platform.
Now that we are taking our original day of service and trying to add it to other cities via the use of a toolkit, we are dabbling into a more business like area. Although we are frequently involved with contacting, meeting, and persuading adults in business, we still need help. Mentorship is the biggest help we could get to help us create this kit. Adults who have connections in the business world, and can help us make our vision a reality is needed.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Currently, we work closely with members of our community to create Service Day Saturday in our city. Most of the event is planned by our city administrators, organizations, youth (ages 5-18), and other members of the community. Many others are involved through schools, work, or in other ways like hosting collection drives. Our hope, is that we can share our impact with other cities, so they can create their own day of service for their residents. As of now, our town has every school, government building, and many businesses and organizations involved. Not only does this help our event, but it also builds a strong sense of community. This is another reason why we want to spread this event to other places.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

We discovered the Challenge from an advertisement from one of our local radio stations, 94.5 KS95. This radio station actually has supported our event by coming out and playing music during the busiest hours of the service fair.
View more

Attachments (3)

ServiceDaySaturdy2018-Letter8.5x11REVFeb26.pdf

Our main flyer that we distribute around our city to motivate residents to attend Service Day Saturday.

service day business letter 2018.pdf

The letter we give to local businesses and organizations to encourage them to become involved with Service Day.

Service Day Saturday 2018 Impact.pdf

The total impact made from April 21st (the day of the event) alone.

3 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ariyan Miller
Team

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

View all comments