Lion’s Heart Teen Volunteers and Leaders SOV 21

Published: March 30, 2021

 

Honoree’s Name: Saarah Rangwala  

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

In addition to this amazing work, they also serve on the Education team for STEAMachine, writing hands-on curriculum for K-8 students; are Tutoring Managers for the nonprofit Cura Project, a health advocacy nonprofit supporting underrepresented illnesses. They also participate in Habitat Restoration and cleanup with OC Habitats, help at Volunteers with Love + Desserts that bakes and delivers healthy desserts to nursing homes and are volunteer bakers for various organizations like OC Sprinkle Squad. Saarah and Aminah have the Spirit of Volunteerism in spades and should be recognized for their contributions to Orange County nonprofits and the local community. In 2020, Aminah and Saarah formed a nonprofit business called Morning Glory Organization to help provide therapy and comfort to seniors in nursing homes during this hard time. They give each patient their very own therapy mat.

Honoree’s Name: Aminah Rangwala  

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Twin sisters, Saarah and Aminah Rangwala, high-school sophomores from Tustin, CA, joined Lion’s Heart in 2018. They arrive at every meeting prepared, positive, energetic, and full of ideas. This year, due to COVID, when their group meetings went virtual, Saarah and Aminah were always the first to turn on their camera, give the group full 100% attention, and helped keep the energy level high during these Zoom meetings. Both girls will have served over 200 hours each, this past year. Since 2017, Saarah and Aminah have been active volunteers for VITAS Healthcare in Irvine. As everyone knows, volunteering at any hospice (end of life) facility can be challenging. Yet, these two young ladies would walk to VITAS after school and serve there, doing any work that needed to be done including administrative work, PLUS handwriting bereavement letters to families who had lost loved one. They also started hand sewing pillows for the patients. With the idea to reach out further and impact more lives of hospice patients in Orange County, they began a project to fulfill the more cognitive needs of seniors impacted by arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. They designed and created “therapy hand lap mats” for patients. These mats include an assortment of triggers on them, like zippers, buttons, buckles, beads, fur and more, all to help with cognitive and physical dexterity for patients. During Covid-19, one of the largest strains was placed on our senior citizens, especially those living in senior communities and hospice homes. Government mandates prevented this vulnerable population from seeing their families and loved ones, and were completely isolated. So in 2020, Aminah and Saarah formed their own non-profit business called Morning Glory Organization to focus on these patients, providing therapy and comfort to our seniors during this time, by giving each patient their very own therapy mat.

 

Honoree’s Name: Mia Soumbasakis  

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Mia, a high-school junior from Lake Forest, CA, volunteers about 4-6 hours a week with Writer’s Ink, a non-profit group that teaches creative writing to children in grades 2-5 by hosting free workshops and camps in local libraries (now on-line due to the COVID pandemic). The group was founded and run by high school students. Mia is the COO of Writer’s Ink and as such, her role includes writing and planning all of the curriculum that is used to teach young kids how to write creatively. Each month, there is a theme. For example, in January 2021, the theme was imagery and in February, it was character development. Mia writes the lesson plans for the weekly workshops and the summer camps. Mia has gone above and beyond her call of duty, putting together elaborate slide shows to teach kids the components of creative writing. For instance, her lesson plan for plot structure includes 28 colorful slides breaking down how to set the setting of the story, create the rising climax, the climax, the falling climax and the resolution within a story. She has gotten incredible feedback from parents and kids alike about how amazing the lessons are and how the kids enjoy going to Writer’s Ink workshops. Mia is passionate about creative writing and is honored to be part of an organization that provides these lessons for free to kids in grades 2-5. Mia writes and plans the curriculum, teaches the curriculum to the high school volunteers and to the kids who attend Writer’s Ink workshops and camps, organizes the high school volunteers, and helps run Writer’s Ink. She pours her heart into this volunteer, educational endeavor and it absolutely shows. In addition, to Writer’s Ink, Mia also volunteers with her Lion’s Heart group as Vice President. She has knitted blanket squares to be used for orphan kids in South Africa through Knit-a-Square, participated in collecting non-perishables and canned goods for 2 food drives for the homeless, collected clothing for the homeless, made jewelry during the holidays for foster kids at Orangewood, and she has participated in South Coast Plaza’s Festival of Children by helping to put together dance routines for a video that was displayed. Mia deserves recognition for all she is doing to help educate young writers during the pandemic and will continue to make a difference to the Writer’s Inc. community of students.

Honoree’s Name: Kai Wong  

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:


Kai Wong, a high-school senior from Tustin, CA, along with some friends, founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Beyond Learning Tutors. They realized that distanced learning had diminished the sense of community that exists in schools and made it clear that there exists a lack of personalization in education. Challenging these problems, Beyond Learning Tutors seeks to build a welcoming, supportive community that students could freely turn to without being judged while offering personalized teaching, guidance, and mentorship. The mission of Beyond Learning Tutors is to create a supportive community where students feel comfortable to ask for academic help, guidance, or support, while helping them achieve their academic goals by providing personalized tutoring and mentorship. They strive to empower students by offering their knowledge, guidance, and experiences, ultimately leading students on the path to success. Through the Beyond Learning Tutors platform, they have hopes to help students achieve academic excellence and cultivate their knowledge into something they can be both proud and confident of. Kai is also a member of Link Crū at his high-school which addresses that high school can be a difficult period of adjustment for all students. Upperclassmen leaders lead freshmen in small group settings, utilizing their own experiences, memories, and knowledge, along with interactive activities, to help the freshmen adjust to Beckman High School. Kai also crocheted beanies during the pandemic for hospital patients and babies. “Volunteering is an opportunity to repay the community for all that it has done for me. For only an hour of my time, I can help hundreds of people in need. Not only is volunteering an opportunity to help one’s community; it is an opportunity to connect with others, whether it be fellow volunteers or those in need of help.” Clearly, Kai is the epitome of the Spirit of Volunteerism.

Honoree’s Name: Jenae Sperling 

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

 

Jenae Sperling, a high-school junior from Mission Viejo, CA, founded “Project Protect & Serve” when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She heard first-hand the struggles the first responders/healthcare workers were facing & found a way to make a difference. She continues to coordinate monthly deliveries to local hospitals during this pandemic. Jenae deserves recognition for all she has given back to OC from the first signs of the lockdown due to COVID-19.
This project has been going strong for over a year, raising awareness & meeting guidelines to deliver in excess of 10,000 meals with cards/posters/banners of thanks to our essential workers. Jenae uses money from her dog-sitting to purchase supplies.
Honoree’s Name: Jordan Votava

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Though Jordan’s skill set is not in the culinary arts, he found a way to serve the community using the baked goods coming from his parents’ kitchen. He created a simple Google form, which he posts on social media once a week, to ask for recommendations of local families in the community who could use some love and support- in the form of a bag of treats. Nurses, teachers, firefighters, families with silent struggles- these are the people touched by the simple gesture of delivering cookies and other baked items.
Jordan has really made a difference during the COVID pandemic by making front-line workers and local families feel acknowledged. Each Friday Jordan and friends deliver goodies by region, 20+ locations, and then set off to make people smile.
Honoree’s Name: Alison Lim

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

While Alison, a high-school junior from Trabuco Canyon, CA, excelled in her regular school, Alison also attended Korean school on Saturdays. After graduating from the Korean Institute of Southern California in Fullerton, CA, in ninth grade, she devoted her time every Saturday as a Teacher’s Assistant of the second-grade class. Due to the Covid-19 shut down and distance-learning, Alison was not able to help the younger students directly anymore. She wanted to find a way to continue to help and support them. In April of 2020, Alison decided to start a project to improve the education of the students. After proposing her idea to the principal, which was then approved by the school board, she spent all of her free time for approximately 10 months working on this project.
Alison started to record every chapter of each Korean textbook (for grades 1-6), creating audiobooks that have been implemented into the school curriculum. She records the audiobooks in her free time and is on pace to produce a total of 94 lessons.
Honoree’s Name: Tyler Brinley  

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Tyler has discovered innovative ways to make helpful contributions to our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and help the community from home. e has made blankets for children in need for Project Linus, decorated envelopes for notes attached to beanies given to children with cancer for the Magic Yarn Project, made paracord bracelets for our military and first responders for Operation Gratitude, and made sandwiches and packaged utensils that were donated to Mary’s Kitchen for the homeless. However, of all of his volunteer work, Tyler’s ongoing involvement as a camp counselor and mentor for Connected Camps has been one of the most gratifying and impactful volunteer opportunities he has experienced. Connected Camps is a fantastic gaming and social platform that allows 8-13 year old children to join virtual camps and clubs hosted by enthusiastic counselors and volunteers.
In a time where children can feel isolated and are struggling to find their identities during this pandemic, Tyler has made an impact on these children’s lives by making them feel welcomed as part of an inclusive social group.

 

 


One thought on “Lion’s Heart Teen Volunteers and Leaders SOV 21

  1. Thank you to the remarkable volunteers at Lion’s Heart for your work of hearts in serving our communities!

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