October Feature Story: Erik Zamudio

My name is Erik Zamudio and I am a 2010 Anthony Munoz Foundation scholar.  It’s hard to believe that it was almost three years ago that I first received the phone call from Anthony.  That phone call changed my life and remains one of the most amazing blessings I have experienced.  The Foundation has not only provided me with financial support to allow me to attend college, but has also introduced me to some of the most amazing individuals around.  I am so happy to say that I am a member of the Anthony Muñoz Foundation family and words cannot express my gratitude to the Muñoz family, the Foundation and the volunteers.

As I mentioned, the Foundation helped me to achieve financial stability which ultimately allowed me to attend my top college choice for education, the University of Cincinnati.  With the help of the AMF I have been able to get involved in several organizations and have even been able to start my own small non-profit.  Currently I am a member of the Honors Marketing program with a minor in Psychology and a certificate in both Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  I am involved in the American Marketing Association as well as the Marketing Leadership Circle (which consists of the top students in the marketing field).  I am also involved in the Entrepreneurship Club and the Sales Club, among other business-related organizations.  Over the past year I have developed marketing campaigns for the first UC-sponsored application for smartphone devices, the Freestore Foodbank and their new catering line (Cincinnati Cooks in particular), and currently I am working in a product design studio for the Boeing Company.  While all of these organizations are great, I have not forgotten the huge impact that the AMF has had on my ability to participate in such clubs.  Rather than having the time to make an impact on my community, I would be working full-time trying to cover my school expenses.  Along with financial help, the Anthony Muñoz Foundation has taught me how to treat others.  It still amazes me that people such as Anthony and the members of the AMF are able to demonstrate such selflessness in a world that’s so focused on the individual.  Through the foundation’s example I have found the importance of helping others.  This past summer I created a small non-profit that provides the indigent workers at the River Downs Race Track clinic with fresh produce and healthy food alternatives.  I have been a long-time volunteer at the clinic and only this past year began to take an interest in the diet of the workers and their families.  I noticed that a common problem within the track was that workers were malnourished and unable to get a balance of the essential vitamins needed to endure long work days.  After realizing this, a friend and I started our own garden and donated all of our produce to the workers in a free farmer’s market setup.  Every other week we would head down to the track and set up between four and five full picnic tables worth of produce for the clinic patients and workers to take.  Although the idea started off slowly, by the end of the summer we were providing produce to nearly 200 workers and their families.  The AMF taught me to actively search for the issues in the community and to reach out and solve them.  There are individuals who need help right here in the Cincinnati area and most people tend to overlook them.  However, the Anthony Muñoz Foundation finds them and directly impacts them.  By simply following their example, I feel as though I have been able to impact my community.  Though the farmer’s market was a small start, I know that great things will come if I continue to follow the mission of the Foundation.

I know that I will never be able to fully capture all of the gratitude that I feel for the Anthony Muñoz Foundation and all of its members, but please know that you have truly impacted my life.  It’s so strange to think of where I would be had I not received that phone call telling me about the scholarship.  I know that I would not be where I am today, and I am so grateful to know that the Foundation looks out for kids like me.  To everyone at the AMF, I sincerely thank you for what you do.  The hard work that you put into the organization does not go unnoticed.  I can speak for all scholars and members of the community when I say you are truly a blessing and you have changed my life.

Sincerely,
Erik Zamudio

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Be the Change!

Help Make an Impact & Serve Your Community.

Have you thought about your Service Challenge project lately? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to start brainstorming so you can bring all of your ideas on how you plan to make an impact in your community to the Youth Leadership Seminar! For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Service Challenge project take a look at our past blog with all the information you need to know.

Having trouble coming up with some ideas? No worries, there are so many ways you can get involved and make a difference in your community. Even the smallest things will make a huge impact. If you aren’t really sure of what you’d like to do you should get on Facebook or Twitter and visit The Birthday Project. According to The Birthday Project, “Every day 10 million people share a birthday. What if every single day people from every nation used their birthdays to do something for someone else?” The Birthday Project encourages random acts of kindness for every year you were born (e.g. If you are turning 17 you will do 17 random acts of kindness on your birthday) that can make a difference in the lives of others. Isn’t this AWESOME?!

When making an impact in someone’s life it doesn’t necessarily have to be an item or service you provide, even being able to create awareness through the community is important. Lakota East produced a lip dub video that raised awareness for Spina Bifida by getting over 90,000 views. Not only did Lakota East raise awareness but they received donations that went to the Children’s Hospital. I was able to post the lip dub video down below, it’s something you should definitely check out. Lakota East, you did such a great job on the Video! We look forward to see what you bring to the Seminar this year!

Not sold that you could help your community? Five year old Aiden from West Chester was able to raise money for the Oklahoma tornado Victims. Aiden wrote a letter to send home with his fellow classmates stating “My name is Aiden. I want to help all the people of the tornado. They need food, clothes, toys and money for their homes. So, please help.”Aiden was able to raise five hundred dollars for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado. What a great article to read.

With so many different possible projects we hope you’ll use these stories as inspiration to see what’s needed in your community. Even if you aren’t attending YLS go out and make a difference in someone’s life today!

Megan Barger
Experience Intern
#PluggedIn2013

Colleges Get Tech-nical

All Aboard the Technology Train!

YLS students, if you’re getting ready to go to college next year, or even within the next 5 years, here is something you will want to know. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, the modern college student is learning in an entirely different way than their parents, or even their brothers and sisters did. It is essential that you keep up with the technological trends that many universities and college students are heading toward. Students are ditching the backpacks full of pens, heavy textbooks, and multiple notebooks and are literally “gearing-up”, with the latest from products from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and tech giants alike.

It is not uncommon to see the majority of students in a college classroom taking notes on their iPads or using e-readers as a substitute for their textbooks.  Everyone knows that college students are obsessed with the latest trends in technology, especially when it comes to the newest smart phone. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly common that as they indulge in communication with their handheld devices, they are downloading apps that can actually be geared toward their studies and school activities. Technology that enhances your ability to learn is what being “Plugged In” is all about!

College students are currently paving the way as the tech savvy and gadget using leaders of tomorrow. Tech leaders in Silicon Valley are designing and releasing products based on their largest consumer, college students.  As parents may reminisce about times that they used a typewriter to complete a 20-page English paper or had to go to the school library to comb through an array of textbooks to study for an exam, those realities are just not the same for students who prepare to enter 4-year or even some 2-year colleges and universities today.

As some may argue there is too high of a dependency for college students to rely on their favorite technology devices, something has to be working if the trend is not slowing down. Presta released an interesting infographic recently that gives us a clear idea of just how much of an impact technology has had on the average college student currently attending school. While a few of the statistics may be somewhat surprising, we should all be aware that we’ve been heading in this direction for quite some time. Does any of this surprise you? What are you most “Plugged In” to? Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones?

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Adam Berman
Events Intern
#PluggedIn2013

Service Challenge 2013

Get “Plugged in” to your community.

This year’s Youth Leadership Seminar is only 672 hours. 28 days. 4 weeks. away! Can you believe it?! With all this talk about our theme “Plugged in,” we don’t want you forgetting about this year’s Service Challenge projects! The Service Challenge projects will start at the Seminar and end April 1, 2014.

For some of you that don’t know what Service Challenge projects are, it’s a way to inspire our school’s to come together to do something for our community. This will be our 5th annual YLS Service Challenge, and we look forward to seeing the idea’s that students come to the Seminar with. At the Seminar students will be paired up with another school to find common problems in their community, which will give them ideas on a Service Challenge project. It’s important that the project will make an ever-lasting impact on others.
Listed below are a few past projects ideas:

  • Collecting can-goods
  • Adopting a family
  • Handing out care packages to the homeless
  • Clothing/coat drive
  • Revitalize a community park, etc.

Each year for the Service Challenge projects we recognize the top two outstanding projects. When determining the winner of the Service Challenge, we will be looking at the projects

  • Lasting impact
  • Creativity
  • Amount of student participation

ImageLast year’s first place winner was Bracken County High School; they created an anti-texting and driving campaign, with their Service Challenge project. The second place Service Challenge project was from Franklin High School. The students hosted a book fair, with the funds they raised from the book fair they were able to help create a library for one of their local elementary schools.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

Have you thought about your Service Challenge project for this year? If so, please comment below and let us know what you have in mind!

Megan Barger
Experience Intern
#PluggedIn2013

Plugged Into the Right Sources

Using technology in a positive way

I-phones. Laptops. I-pads. Email. Social media. Living in the 21st century, our world revolves around technology. It seems like we can’t go an hour without checking our cell phones or logging on to some type of social media site, like Facebook or Twitter. As teenagers and young adults, we are plugged into society through these sources and rely on constant communication to stay up to date with our friends, family, and favorite celebrity. The Anthony Muñoz Foundation used this idea when we decided that the theme for our 2013 Youth Leadership Seminar was to be Plugged In. At the seminar, we will explore how leaders are using technology to empower others and give back to their communities. Check out Adam’s post from last week to learn more about this event happening on October 9th.

What does the title of this post mean then when I say “Plugged Into the Right Sources?” The need for people to constantly be moving and on the go with their SmartPhones and checking their Facebook (and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest) every chance they get, helps to emphasize that as a culture, we need to slow down. We need to learn to appreciate life as it comes at us and the relationships that can exist in person, and not just those in cyberspace. We don’t need to unplug from all forms of technology and communication, but must use this technology and future technology to do good in the world and help empower others to be leaders, even if they live across the globe. Technology gives us the power to positively influence and inspire others, but only if we use it in that way.

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Instead of replying to emails or Facebook messages right as they are sent directly to our phones, we must decide when we want to respond to someone and not be constantly relying on these new devices for trivial matters. By taking the opportunity to have the final say and by not being addicted to technology and constantly in communication with other people, we will gain a better appreciation for our own life and the responsibilities that we have to others. We will learn more about our own abilities and how we can make a difference in the world.

world of techAt YLS, we’ll be encouraging students not to unplug directly, but rather to get plugged in to their school, community, and city. Technology can be used in many positive ways to help leaders in our community achieve their dreams. If we take the time to teach and explain technology to the incoming generations, it will inevitably show that technology can be used to help people. For example, organizations like The Birthday Project work to create a better world by spreading the message of kindness through their use of technology.

Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and continue to check back for weekly blog updates!

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern
#PluggedIn2013

Check out the blog where the pictures came from!