High Schools Inspiring Community Involvement: Part 1

Our Youth Leadership Seminar (YLS) has inspired many Tri-State schools to go out into their community and make a difference one Service Challenge Project (SCP) at a time. Below are the 5 schools who are not only dedicated to YLS, but making an impact in their community as well!  Let’s put the spotlight on some of the schools for how many years they’ve been to the event!

Aiken High School: 9 Years

AMF is proud to be able to see firsthand the positive impact Aiken High School has undoubtedly made in their community. Counselor, Sandi Horine, and her YLS group have been outstanding with their past SCP, including one completed this past February which focused on raising awareness against local gun violence.

Read more about it here!


Amelia High School: 9 Years 

Amelia has proven loyal to their school’s commitment to have students “stretch their learning to show what they can do as they become more responsible world citizens.” (AEP Vision Statement)  What we can say is that they are definitely on the right track, especially with service challenge projects like 2012’s canned food drive which collected over 4,000 non-perishable food items, and 2013’s Amelia Ambassadors Program!


Anderson High School: 9 Years

Needless to say, YLS would be nothing without all the great faculty leading students. Anderson High School’s Pat Thatcher is just one example of an exceptional, motivated YLS moderator. She’s lead the way in helping her students inspire their community with projects like a donkey basketball fundraiser and the school-wide Christmas present drive.


Bracken County High School: 8 Years

Winners of the 2012 Service Challenge Project, Bracken High School is an outstanding example of what it means to spark a passion in your community. Their “No Text on Board-It Can Wait!” campaign educated many throughout their community about the dangers of distracted driving. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your school normally does, if you have a great idea and a few friends to help you, you can do it no matter what.” –BHS Student

Check out their winning Service Challenge Project here!

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Franklin High School:  6 Years

Franklin High School was the 2012 runner-up for the SCP, opening a library for Kindergarten students whose library’s funding was cut. This is a great example for younger students as it shows great leadership skills within the community!

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These are just a few of our most active YLS schools! Make sure you tune in next week to see more schools under the spotlight!

Jemannie Luong

Experience Intern


Aiken Rallies Against Gun Violence

  The Aiken Community Stands Strong Against Violence 

        Students at Aiken College and Career High School, tucked away in the heart of College Hill have become all too familiar with the devastation of several tragic deaths spurred by gun violence throughout the past five years. Numerous teenagers have come to know the heartbreak of losing their family members and friends. Sandi Horine, Aiken Guidance Counselor, and her Youth Leadership Seminar Student Leadership Group were inspired by the Service Challenge Project and were eager to take a stand against gun violence in their immediate community. Sandi was impressed with their passion and dedication to the project and the enthusiasm they showed in rallying together. The group was committed to making an impact in preventing tragedy from striking any more of their peers. Three years ago, Aiken lost five students to gun violence and the year before, several students and alumni. Just one week after plans for this project were finalized, Aiken lost a 14-year-old to gun fire. Several weeks later, another 14-year-old, who was not an Aiken student but a close friend to many, was tragically killed. The week before the event, an Aiken senior was shot but survived with the support of friends and family. Needless to say, this issue is one that hits too close to home for many students.

Aiken’s service challenge project, featured on the FOX 19 evening news, kicked off a week-long event on Tuesday, February 11th with two, all-school assemblies reaching 700 students targeting gang awareness and addressing preventative action. Sandi’s group hosted a follow-up during lunch to provide students the opportunity to learn about additional resources and to confide in peers about their personal experience. In addition, Wednesday’s lunch period included a discussion that focused on methods to cope with loss by encouraging students to open up through sharing how gun violence has affected them.

Jamie Bryant, who works with the Cincinnati Human Relations Committee at City Hall partnered with Aiken and presented at Wednesday’s rally. In addition, representatives from “Mothers of Murdered Victims” attended the event to share their personal stories of loss and mourning.  Ms. Horine was struck by the impressive turnout and courage of those who were so willing to open up by facing a very difficult and personal issue that is often considered “the elephant in the room” in hopes of making a difference. Students were eager to equip themselves through education on this very prevalent issue so they too are prepared to go out into their neighborhoods, and make an impact both as individuals and as a school. Although Aiken emphasizes a strong focus on academics and excelling students to the next level, Ms. Horine says the school holds the safety and comfort of the students in the highest regard.

To bring the week to a close, the school opened its doors to students, families and community members for the “Night-at-the-Mic Rally”. The attendees – including two local Cincinnati Police Officers, the “Mothers of Murdered Victims” members and countless students – shared their personal testimonies of gun violence and stories of loved ones who have lost their lives. The thought-provoking discussion and personal accounts were incredibly moving and shed a serious light on an issue that continues to pose a threat to many Cincinnati communities. Following the rally, attendees scribed the names of friends and family members who have passed away on hundreds of purple and white balloons and released them into the sky. The sun was shining and the group fell silent as the sea of purple and white floated up over the hill and soared through College Hill. It was a beautiful symbol of hope and honorable tribute to those who have lost their lives to gun violence.









Great Job, Aiken!