What happens when teenagers come together to try to make a difference within the community?
That's exactly what occurs within Pitman High School's service club GenerationOn.
Inspired to make a beneficial change within the community, seniors Missy McClellan and Jordan Garcia decided to form the club. The GenerationOn group is part of a global youth service movement that consists of clubs around the nation. It serves as the youth division of the Points of Light organization, which is a global service group as well.
GenerationOn tackles a variety of issues that affect the community and the globe in a negative way; environmental waste, hunger, disease, poverty and homelessness are just a few examples of the projects it undertakes.
Pitman's GenerationOn club was created this school year. Sofar, the club has had a pink lemonade sale, boxed presents for needy children around the globe and held an informational meeting on confronting local homelessness.
The pink lemonade sale raised money for breast cancer treatment programs at Turlock's Emanuel Medical Center. The goal was to raise $100 for the breast cancer programs and raise awareness while doing so; the total amount made from the sale was $185 all of which was donated to Emanuel.
The sale took place Oct. 11 during a Pitman home game against Turlock; GenerationOn members working the sale were encouraged to wear pink to promote awareness of breast cancer. Members sold 108 cups of pink lemonade and raised the rest with donations.
The club has participated in the global movement Operation Christmas Child, the purpose of which is to create boxes containing items for practical use and for entertainment. The boxes then are shipped to children all over the world. The club filled more than 20 boxes.
Poverty is another issue that GenerationOn confronted; teaming up with the Turlock Gospel Mission, an informational meeting was held in the school library Dec. 5. Tim Guerino, guest speaker from Turlock Gospel Mission, addressed the causes of homelessness and some volunteer opportunities for young adults. The crowd of about 50 youngsters were visibly moved, and many stayed after to ask about service opportunities.
"I feel that many students at PHS don't feel like they can change the world simply because we live in a small town," said Missy McClellan, co-president of the club, "but I thought a club like GenerationOn would unite kids who care about making a difference and give those kids hope and proof that something small they do can have a greater lasting impact. As I like to put it, the club isn't about fitting the subservient-do-gooder- who-spends-their-Christmas-money-on- soap-for-the-poor archetype, but more about enjoying the feeling of doing a selfless act for someone else and the greater good."
On the Net: www.generationon.org.
Martin Cepeda is a freshman at Pitman High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.