Info for HS Students/Parents, Podcast Episode, The People Need to Know!

Ep 11: A Better Sex Talk w/ Dr. Stephanie Ros

The lack of quality in the sex talk the majority of people get has left so many women seeing sex as function, when at its core, it’s meant to be fun. In this episode, Dr. Ros delves into her journey with maternal fetal medicine, and also provides information about pleasurable sex, myths around pregnancy and birth, and how to educate young people about sex. This is not your mother’s sex talk. The people need to know for this week include: A novel called, “When Breath Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalinithi, The Gypsy Rose Blanchard story, you can learn all about it by watching, “Mommy Dead and Dearest” on HBO, follow it by diving into, “The Act” on Hulu, and the board game, “Ticket to Ride.” You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest at @dcandcm.

Blog Post, Info for HS Students/Parents, Written by Betty

30 Community Service Ideas for High School Students

Title of blog post: 30 Community Service Ideas for High School Students: Make Your College Application Stand Out.  Photo of High School Students sitting at a table. Dream Chasers and Change Makers Logo to the right.

I did the math, and engaging in community service during high school earned me $67 an hour. Yes, you read that right. I earned a full scholarship to college, largely in part because of the hours I committed to giving back. No student loans for me!

Community service is so near and dear to me, not only because of the financial rewards but because I truly love every second I put into it. That is because I find causes that are meaningful and align with my values. In a previous post, I offered 3 steps explaining how to use your, or if you’re a parent, help out your college-bound teen use their time wisely to make the community service portion of your college application shine.

A lot of the ideas featured will also give you an opportunity to get involved with community service and require leadership, another important area to highlight on a college application. (Read more about the four areas I believe all college-bound high school students should pay attention to here.)

Community Service with Kids in School

Community service during high school.  Students tutoring.
  1. Contact your local elementary and offer free tutoring services after school.
  2. Love computers? Art? Music? Find the email addresses of those teachers on the local elementary school’s website and ask if there is any way you can get involved!
  3. Host a book drive or supplies drive! Many schools are underfunded and in desperate need of basic supplies. You can have a huge impact here.
  4. This one can be tricky but if you can work with your school and a partnering school to come in and help out during school hours as a classroom aid, or a book buddy, this would be a fantastic way to give back.
  5. STEM is a huge hot button topic right now. If you are able to organize a science fair at your school or a neighboring school, that shows interest in a specific area and leadership.

Love Animals? Plenty of Community Service Opportunities There!

Community service during high school with animals.  Young woman in yellow t-shirt pictured with a dog.
  1. Shelters often need blankets, towels, and other household items for the animals. Reach out to local shelters and help host a supplies drive!
  2. Have a special skill when it comes to training animals? Offer complimentary dog training classes, or see if you can help out in an agency that offers this service.
  3. Contact a local farm and see if you can help out! Maybe they need an extra hand caring for the animals, or perhaps could use your help collecting supplies.
  4. Shelters are always looking for a helping hand. Check out the websites of local shelters and see if there is a volunteering page.
  5. If there is a rehab clinic for rescued animals, give them a call or shoot them an email and see how you can help, whether that means giving your time to help directly, or collecting supplies they may lack.

Faith Based Organizations have Tons of Volunteering Opportunities

High school student doing community service in a church.
  1. Organize or volunteer with existing youth groups.
  2. Host yard sales or bake sales to raise money for your institution.
  3. Have a skill you’re really good at? Teach a class or offer services to members of your congregation.
  4. Raise money for an organization by hosting a car wash through your faith based institution.
  5. Organize a food or clothing drive for a less fortunate parish or nonprofit.

Make an Environmental Impact Doing Community Service

Community service during high school at the beach!  Image of a clean shoreline with trash in the proper receptacles!
  1. Live near a beach or visiting one during vacation? Organize or join a beach clean up!
  2. Maybe a local park or even your school could use some sprucing. Get permission to beautify the space with art or by planting.
  3. School go through a lot of paper! There could be a way that you could get involved making sure paper or plastic is properly recycled at school or in your neighborhood.
  4. Educate others about their environmental impact. If you get involved with an organization or program with children, teach a lesson surrounding the theme “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
  5. Do a quick google search and see if there are any nearby organizations that focus on the environment as see how you can get involved. Nonprofits are always looking for a helping hand!

Give Back to Those Who Serve Our Country

Community Service during high school with Veterans
  1. Contact your nearest VA hospital and ask if there are volunteer opportunities available to high school students.
  2. Collect items for the VA.
  3. Organize or participate in a letter and care package sending campaign for those currently on active duty.
  4. Many of our country’s veterans are currently homeless. Contact a local shelter and inquire about how you can get involved.
  5. Host a “prom” or some kind of event at your school for veterans (or senior citizens!)

Does the Issue of Homelessness Tug at Your Heartstrings?

Community Service with those that are homeless.  Photo of makeshift homes on a city sidewalk.
  1. Reach out to a nearby homeless shelter and ask what products they could use. Many places have plenty of clothing donations but need things like hygiene products or socks. Once you have this information organize a drive through your school or faith based organization.
  2. Help directly at a soup kitchen. A lot of times people are willing to give their time during the holidays, but shelters and soup kitchens could use a hand year round. Contact a local organization and find out how you can help directly!
  3. A lot of nonprofits, like shelters, could use money. Set up a fundraising event, such as a bake sale or car wash and donate the proceeds.
  4. Local food pantries often need nonperishable items. Reach out and see if a food drive could be helpful. Organize one through your school or faith based organization.
  5. Homelessness a systemic issue, do a little research and write to your local legislators about how life can be made better in your area for those that are homeless. A lot of laws and policies make life more difficult for people without secure housing.

Having a robust history of community service can really make a college application stand out. Taking initiative and organizing also displays leadership. Getting involved also make us feel good, especially if it is a cause that is meaningful to you!

Parents! We have something for you too. If you also want to give back but struggle to fit doing into your lifestyle, listen to episode 7 of the Dream Chasers and Change Makers podcast! We talk to Kristiana Tarnuzzer of The Cause Bar, an organization dedicated to integrating giving back into your life style.

Are you or your college-bound teen already engaging in community service during high school? Tell us about it in the comments and leave some more inspiration for our readers!

Betty Carricaburu | Ms.Ed

Blog Post, Info for HS Students/Parents, Information, Written by Betty

Community Service: The Hours Pay!

High school students about to partake in a community service activity.  They have their hands all in and it says volunteer on their shirts.

Community service is not giving your time up for free.  It is an investment in you and your future. Having so many community service hours opened a lot of doors for me. I was awarded several scholarships, including the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Because I was given that competitive scholarship, I graduated college with zero dollars of debt and not a penny came out of my pocket for college. I did the math one day of how much money I got in scholarship divided into how many community service hours I had. It came out to about $67.00 an hour!

My Community Service Experience

Because of my circumstances at the time, I was able to rack up an impressive amount of community service hours.  I didn’t know it at the time but that was a hidden blessing for me. When it came time to apply to college, that part of my application really stood out.

Teenage girl who is doing community service at summer camp for kids who have disabilities.  She is embracing a little girl with down syndrome.

Money was always tight for my family.  Sending all her kids to summer camp was not really an option for my mom.  So, every summer from 7th grade to entering my senior year I volunteered at my brother’s summer camp. He has Down Syndrome and went to a school that tailored to individuals with disabilities. Financially, It was the best option for my mom. Instead of paying for me to go to summer camp I went to volunteer my time. I did that every summer for six years.  If you know me, you know I love being around people with disabilities, so it was a really special way for me to get a ton of community service hours. There were campers I wouldn’t see all year, so, come summer I would get to see how much they’d grown and learned in a year. That is special memory for me!

3 Steps to Make the Most Out of Community Service

Step 1: Identify Your Passion

What are you very passionate about? Education, animals, your faith, homeless awareness, cancer awareness, veterans affairs, the environment, human rights, city beautification? Find what moves and shakes you and something you’ll love dedicating time to.

Step 2: Take Action!

Do a little research and find an organization doing community service at your school or where you live, that lights that passion. If you can’t find one that is exactly right, create your own.  (There’s leadership right there. Two birds, one stone!) Find a way to support a cause you are passionate about and think of ways to contribute. For example, collect blankets for your local animal shelter, conduct a book drive for a local school, host a canned food drive, etc. 

Picture of high schools students volunteering in a park with dogs.  They have the word volunteer printed on their shirts.

You can also do research and find out about what events or projects local organizations have in place that you may be able to be a part of and may be able to involve your school like an annual 5k or carnival or showcase. Click here for more ideas of places you can get involved!

Step Three: Manage and Use Your Time Wisely

Time management is an important part of making your community service hours count.  A diverse volunteering experience is an impressive component to a college application.

Determine how many hours you have to dedicate to community service, and while you are volunteering, log those hours.  If you have extra time, dedicate a few more hours. Reach out to local nonprofit organizations.  Many of those places would be overjoyed to have an extra pair of hands! There is always an opportunity to volunteer.

While you plan any of your events and activities ensure that there is an adult or member who can attest to the work you put in.  They may come in handy when you are looking for a college recommendation letter later.

In my last post I mentioned four areas to focus on for a superstar college application, including leadership, academics and grades, SAT/ACT scores, and community service.  I recommended really honing in on three out of those four categories, without completely neglecting the fourth, of course. Now that you have plenty of information about how to get started with community service, stay tuned to read more about how to make those other areas shine.

By Betty Carricaburu, Ms.Ed

Blog Post, Info for HS Students/Parents, Written by Betty

Transition to College: A Blog Series

Pictures of Alé and Betty on their graduation day, with the heading Episode 3: Bravely Vulnerable.  In this episode they shared about their difficult transition to college.  There is a quote on the picture that says, "There is a lot of research on how this happens, why this happens and all of it is true.  The gifts.  All of it."

The transition to college is a theme that has come up on our podcast again and again. It has been the source of the most difficult times for Alé and myself. On the third episode of Dream Chasers and Change Makers, we shared our stories of simultaneously transferring to the University of Miami . It was a serendipitous meeting of deep connection!  Our roads to applying and transferring to UM had been chock full of heart break, trauma, and mental health battles. Our transitions from high school to college were troublesome for the both of us. The obstacles we endured proved to be challenging for out mental well being.  In the episode we revealed the most difficult details to our listeners.

After Episode 3 began streaming, we received an out pouring of love. So many friends and people who I have not met in person reached out to thank me for my honesty. Also, they told me they related and shared their similar experiences. I heard from countless people who had a difficult transitions from high school to college. (Some who took other paths other than college too!) The years after high school graduation are such important rite-of-passage.

Screen grab of a text message from a listener explaining how having immigrant parents who did not understand the American education made her transition to college more difficult.

My Commitment to Those Transitioning to College

This time period is riddled with strife for so many. Learning this has inspired me to use our platform as a resource for those are about to transition to college. I have committed to writing a series of posts that deal with life during and after high school. This is all in hopes to inspire some college bound dream chasers and change makers. If you are a parents of a college bound teens, you are also in the right place!

Click here to learn my tips to make out of your high school experience so you college application shines! Make sure to stay tuned for more information!

By Betty Carricaburu Ms.Ed

Blog Post, Info for HS Students/Parents, Written by Betty

Four Areas for High School Students to Make a College Application Shine!

For those of you who are looking for tips on what to do in high school to get into college of your dreams – this post is for you! I have identified four areas that will make your college application shine.

Back in 2013, after my daughter was born, I had opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. I spoke to students from several high schools in my area, and boy, did I love it!

In my experience, people working in admissions for these four areas to be strong.

Community Service

Academic Performance (AKA Grades!)

Leadership

SAT/ACT

I have great news! If three out of four of these areas pop, that is more than good enough to make you a highly qualified and high-caliber applicant.

I was accepted to several top tier universities. Guess what?  I did terrible on the SAT! Acceptance letters still rolled in because my application showcased my strong academic performance, involvement in community service, and leadership roles I took on.  A friend of mine had the minimum requirement for community service but was very strong in the other three categories and she got into MIT! The lesson is, do not stress about perfection.  If you are already strong in the four areas, that’s an amazing feat.  What is most important is to have a well-rounded high school experience!

Here I am volunteering! I was always up to something with school clubs, I’m still very much like that – always involved!

Now, although I am suggesting that three of the four be strong— I do not mean to abandon the fourth! Do try your best and work hard in all four areas. Your grades should always be as best as you can maintain them.  Join as many school activities and organizations as is enjoyable and comfortable for you.  What I do not suggest, is letting anything be all consuming.

Trying to perfect all four will almost certainly be a drain on your energy and may wind up making certain areas weaker.  For example, if I would have spent countless hours studying even more for the SAT, I would have never had the time to plan a 5k to raise money to support the Down Syndrome Association or had the time to enjoy a trip to New York with the photography club! 

So there you have it!  Lesson one— schools want a well-rounded student. My action item for you: Reflect on which of these three areas you can focus on.  Again, we don’t want to abandon any category! 

Stay tuned because my next post will be all about how to make the best in each area. 

A picture of Betty smiling with her hair pulled back into a ponytail.  She is at a University of Miami sporting event, and the backdrop of the stadium is behind her.
Here I am, smiling. It was joyous to be at UM, where I was truly meant to be!

My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in education, however, I do not work in an admissions. All suggestions given from my extensive experience!

By Betty Carricaburu, Ms.Ed