Many of the schools in San Antonio require students to complete service hours, yet many do not know where to start or how to get involved. SOS addresses this need by organizing multiple, monthly service opportunities, supervised by adults and tracks student hours, in order to help all students develop a sense of empowerment through service to others. Our SERVE program is open to all students in San Antonio between 6th-12th grades, and allows students to be active members of the community through service to existing nonprofit organizations in our community. We also offer students the ability to become social entrepreneurs through our Make it Happen (MIH) initiative, which allows students to submit their own ideas to improve the community. Most. recently, three 7th grade boys completed their MIH – Art Camp for teens at SAMMinistries, which provides emergency housing to families struggling with homelessness.
This work is important because youth need to understand the power that they hold to make a difference, no matter their background. Since our founding in 2005, SOS students have provided over 10,000 hours of documented community service to the San Antonio community.
The initial seed grant from TPP allowed us to gain access to vital funding to grow our Make it Happen initiative. Since then, we have generated more than 14 MIH projects and grown the SERVE program in conjunction with that growth. This funding allows us to procure a new Volunteer Management System and software that will significantly reduce the hours required to keep up with all of this data management. By streamlining this process, SOS volunteers can focus on growing capacity to serve more youth. Also, the new VMS will allow us to provide enhanced services, such as real-time hours tracking, registration for volunteer opportunities, and volunteer resumes.