Back to School and Back to YLS!

As everyone returns to school this fall, there is plenty to think about. New classes, new school supplies, and maybe even adjusting to a new school. What’s on our minds at AMF this fall? That YLS is back!

What is YLS, you may ask? It is officially known as our Youth Leadership Seminar, an annual event where more than 1,000 local students from up to 100 tri-state schools come together for a day of engaging speakers, breakout sessions and opportunities to reflect on how they can create change. We’re excited to be back this year, in partnership with Centene Corporation, and the countdown is on to October 17, 2018, at the Crossroads Complex in Mason.

With our theme of ‘Empowerment’ this fall, speakers will self-reflect on what’s empowered them, how it’s made them the community leader they are today and in return how they empower others. We love having our students at this event because they can learn from and communicate with other local students about self-empowerment, leadership and community involvement. This seminar is also important as students develop ideas for how they can positively impact their communities through the AMF Service Challenge.

Check out a blog on past AMF Service Challenge projects here and learn more about the impact our YLS students have made over the years.

Here’s a example of a project that was created after the 2016 YLS Seminar. Bracken High School students created a 24/7 ‘Blessings’ Box that houses items such as non-perishable food, toiletries and baby items, and is open to anyone in the community. The purpose is to leave an item when you can, and take an item when you need it.

Bracken HS project - 2016

Bracken High School students created a community “Blessings Box”. 

We started this event in 2002, and it keeps growing every year. We especially want to recognize those schools that have attended for more than 10 years!


We are looking forward to seeing our students back at YLS this fall. From long-time partners to first-timers, we’re excited for another great year at YLS! If you haven’t registered yet, here’s your chance. We currently have more than 60 tri-state schools registered. If your school is not registered, use the link here to get started.

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about YLS. We are excited to see welcome all our students back this year in October and see how they become empowered to create change in their communities. Check back next week for our next blog post on our local tutoring program – Whiz Kids!




Events Intern

Five Fun Facts About Our Whiz Kids!

This week is an exciting time at AMF: it’s the beginning of Whiz Kids! Here are five things you may not know about our Whiz Kids tutoring program.

  1. City Gospel Mission began Whiz Kids to provide at-risk students tutoring and mentoring around the city. 2017 marks the 8th year Anthony Munoz Foundation has been a site host at Robert Paideia Academy in Price Hill!


2. Each year 20 Kindergarten through 5th Grade students have the opportunity to be matched with a tutor from AMF. These pairs meet every Wednesday after school for one hour of tutoring. They practice reading skills while building a relationship with their tutor.


3. At the end of each session, Whiz Kids get to participate in a group activity. This can be an art project like creating shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day or even playing a fun game like “Over the Mountain” where students and tutors get to know each other better.


4. In the last 3 years, 13 students have completed and aged-out of the Whiz Kids curriculum! They have moved on to the Whiz Kids extension program—City Gospel Mission’s Unplugged where they focus more on everyday enrichment, academics, and life-skills. These students also have the opportunity to learn more about spirituality. Fun fact: these students come from 7 different families!


5. Want to be a tutor? You must be at least 16 years old! Most of our volunteer tutors do not have previous tutoring experience but training is provided by The Foundation and City Gospel Mission before Whiz Kids begins. There is still time for you to register to be a tutor for the 2017-2018 school year! Click here to learn more about registering to be a Whiz Kid tutor!



Service Challenge Project: Talawanda “Plugs Into Kindness”

Talawanda “Plugs into Kindness”

          The heavy snow posed no threat to the energy that awoke the halls of Talawanda Middle School (Oxford) last Friday morning as they kicked off their YLS Service Challenge Project. Although the temperature was low, the spirits couldn’t have been higher as the 6, 7 & 8th graders “plugged into kindness” with their ‘Unplug Bullying’ rally. The idea, spurring from The Anthony Muñoz Youth Leadership Seminar in October, was headed by Talawanda High School’s group of YLS attendees who recognized the need to address bullying in their younger, more impressionable generations – their district middle school. Sharon Gregory, Family and Consumer Science Teacher and AMF group leader at Talawanda High School was so overwhelmed with the positive feedback that the group is planning a community presentation next month and will continue to visit the middle school during lunches to mentor students.

YLS High Schoolers Kicking Off The Assembly!

YLS High Schoolers Kicking Off The Assembly!

“We have had great comments from our staff and administration! I am so proud of the students and how they came up with the idea and ran with it. We worked together as a group to come up with small group ideas and the students handled themselves very professionally. They were surprised with how many students opened up to them and shared things during the small groups.”

       April Kerley, U.S. Paralympics Swimmer and nine-time American record setter delivered a moving message of her story and the adversity she has overcome in life, striving to hold herself to a standard of compassion and kindness toward others. She explained that in life, there is no such thing as “normal” and that if we were all in fact “normal” – we would all be average, possessing the same strengths, but also the same weaknesses. April, a keynote speaker at the 2013 AMF Youth Leadership Seminar, sparked an energy at Talawanda with her inspirational story.       

April and Talawanda High School Team

April and Talawanda High School Team

       “As an athlete, I train daily with teenagers and have long believed they are emerging as inspiring, youth leaders. So when the opportunity came along to speak at the Anthony Munoz Foundation’s Youth Leadership Seminar, I was eager to support the cause and contribute to your service projects. What I did not anticipate was the learning I would gain along the journey. As I have traveled to schools to support your projects, it has elevated my enthusiasm! Along the way, I discovered new insight into what is important to you, and, most importantly, why a project matters to you. Through the AMF Challenge, you shared of yourself, your life experiences, your aspirations and that directed your community service to align with you, your peers, and your community.”

        The YLS high school ambassadors finished up with a series of creative skits aimed to express the extreme emotional and social effects of bullying, whether in or outside of school walls. With a progressive age of technology focused on social media and online interaction, there is a rising platform for bullying, including threats, hurtful words and exclusion in the digital space – specifically with apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The crisis of cyber bullying through technology and online mediums continues to heighten and the YLS team didn’t hold back in challenging this nation-wide issue head on.

         Following the all-school rally, Ms. Gregory’s students chose to hone in on 7th graders specifically for the small group break-out sessions – a group seeming to be more affected by this issue. The high schoolers facilitated evoking dialogue on the various forms of bullying and how it can be disguised, why it happens, and where students should turn if they experience bullying amongst themselves or peers. Through their thoughts and participation, it was evident that the students’ eyes were being opened to the magnitude of bullying – an issue that hit home for them, and thousands of youth throughout the community. The 7th graders were encouraged to share personal opinions, stories and suggestions on how the issue can be eliminated moving forward.

Small Group Breakout Sessions

Small Group Breakout Sessions

As one chapter closes, another one opens

5 busy computers. 4 month internship. 3 graduating interns. 2 major events. And 1 amazing experience.

Can you believe that 2013 is finishing up and 2014 will be here before we know it!? This will be the final blog post from your AMF fall interns. We have 4 new faces that will be taking over starting in January and they will have the chance to tell their own stories each week through their blog posts.

We have been passionately following the Service Challenge Projects for the last 2 months and are extremely impressed with each school’s drive, compassion, and excitement in helping to better the community by getting “Plugged In.”

foodFinneytown High School is currently working on a project of opening a food pantry at their school for the entire year, instead of just around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. The students are working with the PTA for a grant in order to be able to better the lives of others and make an impact in their community.

Lebanon High School has been taking advantage of #AMFChallenge by tweeting pictures of their project of starting a homework club and tutoring local children. The picture shows the tutors teaching multiplication tricks to students  who may be struggling in the subject. The plan for this project is that the homework club will continue throughout the whole year and hopefully become a new yearly program at Lebanon.

runningDeer Park High School has confirmed that their project is going to be a 5k for suicide awareness taking place on Saturday, January 11th. Deer Park recognized a problem in their area and is doing something to bring awareness to this important topic. This will be a great event to start 2014 off on a strong note and will hopefully be one of the first projects that AMF staff members will be able to visit in January.

These are just some of the projects that continue to inspire us each day. Working closely with each of your schools has been a great opportunity, and one that we are so thankful we got to experience. As we finish our final few projects in the office, we hope you take the time to reflect and realize which Service Challenge Project is most inspiring for you. We don’t want Service Challenge Projects to end even though the semester is coming to a close. As students, you get the next two weeks off to spend time with your family and friends, enjoy the holidays, play in the snow, and think about how you can continue to inspire your community!

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

Students look to make a lasting impact

Over time, projects develop, service plans are altered, and new ideas are formed for the Service Challenge Projects. By getting “Plugged In” at the 2013 Youth Leadership Seminar, many students decided that it was time for them to “stand up” and make a difference in their community. The second annual “Giving Tuesday” is on December 3, 2013, and with the holiday season quickly approaching, we are very proud that our students give back throughout the entire year and not just during the “giving season.” 

Turpin High School was inspired to create 9-1-1 for Fun, where their seniors played a basketball game against local members of the Fire and Police units. Following the game, there were sandwiches 

BaBNH-8CQAAeH5f (2)provided by Chick-fil-A, and a chance for students and community members to hear stories from members of each unit and to give thanks for all of their hard work. This was AMF’s second school visit on November 26th and we could not be more inspired by the students at Turpin who came out to support such a great cause.

In 2012, Anderson High School also hosted a basketball game to raise money and awareness for Pelizaeus-Merzbacker Disease, a rare, degenerative central nervous system disorder in which coordination, motor abilities, and intellectual function deteriorates. Anderson is sticking with the sports theme and decided that their project for this year will be a community dodgeball event to raise community spirits and to provide funds for Mitch’s Mission, a non-profit organization that gives scholarships to send children with cancer to summer camp.

Norwood High School also continued with a similar theme from their project idea from last year, through supporting the children in the community by planning to host a science-outreach event for the elementary students of their school district. This project is an extension of their 2012 project where they focused on cleaning up and planting flowers along Mill Creek, as part of the restoration project.

_MG_6054Oyler High School focused on making their community better in 2012 through their efforts to sell calendars to raise money to adopt two families for the Christmas season. They took family portraits and presented these photos at a community dinner. This year, Oyler has decided to focus their efforts inward and hold an anti-bullying/violence week to help stop this issue within the walls of the high school.

Our Service Challenge Winner last year was Bracken County High School with their “It Can Wait!” campaign to discourage students from distracted driving.  They reached over 1500 students with the campaign’s events and the weeklong activities included themed IMG_3446days to focus on different types of distracted driving, a real car that had been involved in a distracted driving accident resulting in a fatality, and texting while driving simulators.  Bracken continued their desire to make a difference and have developed their new project for 2013 of “Spread the word to End the Word” (to eliminate the word retard), which will take place December 9th-13th. Bracken will be partnering with Pine Ridge Pine Village Homes for much of the week to bring mentally and physically challenged individuals and their workers to do a presentation for the students. There will be stations that are set up in the gym to simulate handicaps, such as being blindfolded, wheel chair obstacle course, ear muffs for deafness, etc. Finally, there will be a pledge table set up for students to sign up that they can “End the Word.”

Whether a school has developed a new idea for their Service Challenge or found ways to expand past projects, as long as students are getting “Plugged In” to their community, the world will continue to be touched by inspirational students looking to make a lasting impact.

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

Carlisle High School Hosts a Blood Drive After the Loss of a Student

Service Challenge Projects are underway and our first school visit is this week!

Carlisle High School had mixed emotions when they attended the Youth Leadership Seminar in October. They were excited to learn how to get “Plugged In” to their community, but they also were mourning the loss of their 2012 Homecoming King, Zach “Zeus” Richards, who lost his yearlong battle with leukemia just a few weeks before. Zach served as the inspiration behind the Carlisle Service Challenge Project.

According to Samantha Lee, the coordinating teacher from Carlisle, this project shows that “one soldier formed an army that will continue the fight for many years to come.” 

Carlisle IN - red-squareCarlisle’s Service Challenge Project “Zeus Soldiers…Win the Battle,” consists of a school wide blood drive taking place on Thursday, November 21st. The blood drive begins at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude by 12:00 p.m. Students and staff will be collecting teddy bears at the event and throughout the entire school year. These teddy bears will then be donated to Children’s Medical Center in Cincinnati, where Zach spent almost a year of his life battling leukemia.“The project’s goal is to honor Zach and keep his legacy alive.” –Samantha Lee

AMF staff and April Kerley, a YLS speaker and paralympian, are looking forward to visiting our first school! We will be tweeting about the event throughout the day, so be sure to check out #AMFChallenge to stay updated on our visit and all Service Challenge Projects.

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

Travel around the Tri-State

Buckle up and come for a ride to learn about the Service Challenge Projects from 6 local high schools.

Boy, time is flying by! Can you believe that YLS was a month ago and Thanksgiving is right around the corner?! Here at AMF, we are busy working on many projects, one of which being the Service Challenge! This week, we are going to take you on a trip around Cincinnati, so that you can learn what area high school students are doing to stay active in their communities!

Our journey starts off on the west side of Cincinnati at Mother of Mercy High School. Mercy has attended YLS since 2006 and their project this year is to coordinate an event to promote self-confidence and self-image to area grade schools.

soccer childrenWe now must take the long journey south on 75 to Erlanger, Kentucky, to visit the students at St. Henry District High School. The project developed at YLS is called “Crusaders” Kicks for Kids, where the school community will collect sporting shoes for inner city school children. The kids will even get a surprise visit around the holidays from Santa as they try on their new shoes!

Now, we head east on 275 to Forest Road. Anderson High School is hosting a community dodgeball event this February. The event is aimed to raise community spirit and the profits from the game will go to Mitch’s Mission, a non-profit organization that gives scholarships to send children with cancer to summer camp.

Buckle up for the hour long drive to Carlisle High School in Franklin, Ohio! This November 21st blood drive event is for Zeus Soldiers. Students will pass out teddy bears at Children’s Medical Center in Cincinnati, where a former student and friend spent almost a year fighting his battle against Leukemia before passing away earlier this fall. According to a teacher from Carlisle, “one soldier formed an army that will continue the fight for many years to come.”

Now, we start the car and head to Trenton, Ohio to visit the students of Edgewood High School. We are so glad that Edgewood was able to join us this year! “The Den” is the name of this school’s project where students will be creating a community thrift store run by local students.

Our final stretch of the road trip will be in Cincinnati at Mariemont school childrenHigh School. Students will fundraise and use donated money to provide the children of Frederick Douglas Elementary School with snacks over the weekend so that they do not go hungry. 

Now, that we have travelled around the Tri-State area, you must be exhausted! Before you go and take a nap, it is YOUR turn to let us know your school’s project, so that you can be featured in a future blog post!

Not a YLS school, but already doing something in your hometown or want to help these schools more? Not a problem, just let us know! Continue to tweet using #AMFChallenge so that we can see what change you are making in your community!

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

How to plan a Service Challenge Project

Follow these 8 easy steps to plan the best project out there!

With the 2013 Service Challenge underway, some of you may already be finished with your project, while others may be wondering where to start! Well, don’t worry; this post will walk you through the steps to plan the project that will cater best to your community’s needs.

Looking at the flowchart below, the first step is to find the problem. It is important to remember that while you think you may know about a problem, it does not mean that it is the only one in existence. You should identify a need in your school or community by:
-Talking with students, community leaders, and family members
-Generating a survey to find out what the most popular problem is

The second step requires you to complete additional research andsimplex find more information that you can use to bring awareness to the most number of people. The more knowledgeable you are about the topic, the more credible you will seem.

In order to define the problem at step three, you must know specifics about the type of situation that your project is going to address. For example, if you say that you want to organize a food drive, that’s a great start, but it can’t stop there. By organizing a food drive, you must realize that the underlying problem would be that there are numerous people in your community that can’t afford necessities, such as food and water. The more specific you are with your problem definition, the more successful your project will be.

imagesStep four is the part of the cycle where you get to decide on the method that would best educate others about the problem that you identified with. If your school decides that they want to focus on children who are at risk, and start a mentorship program, that’s great! That same mentorship program would not be as successful if you decided to support a local animal shelter. For step five, you must select the final event, drive, or program that you will organize.

Step six is the implementation of all of your ideas and planning the details out for your project. Details that need to be considered include:
-How soon in advance do you have to get permission from your school?
-Where is the event going to be held and when?
-Have you made sure that the space is available the day you want it?
-Are volunteers involved?
-Do you want to reach out to businesses in the area to sponsor the event or donate food or prizes?
-Do you need to buy any materials?
These are just some of the things that must be thought about when trying to execute your project.

Step seven is the selling of your idea, which means spreading newspaperthe word to everyone in your community! To spread the word, you could:
-Make flyers to hang around school and your community
-Talk to specific classes or homerooms about the project
-Create a Facebook group and invite all of your friends
-Go to a local newspaper and present them with the story

Step eight is putting all of your hard work into action and seeing it accomplished successfully! You must remember that finding a problem in your community and creating a project based on it, is just the beginning. Chances are the problem existed before you discovered it, and chances are it will exist afterwards. That is why these eight steps fall in a circle, because in order to achieve long term success, you must continue to educate the public on the importance of the issue. The steps continue to be repeated, but the goal is that each time around, you will have a different version of the problem you began with. You will then know what worked with educating others the first time, what didn’t, and how you can improve for the future.

If your school has followed any of these steps or already completed your Service Challenge Project, make sure to let us know!  Be sure to tweet using #AMFChallenge so that we can stay involved with your project through our social media sites.

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

To see where we got our model from and to learn more about the Simplex Process, please click here.

Service Challenge Tour 2013

Ready for our AMF Team to visit your school?

YLS is over and Service Challenge projects have begun! I just finished reading over all the submitted projects that we received at the Seminar and you all have developed great ideas. Now it’s time to take the next step and see your service project in action!

Not only are you getting the chance to make an ever-lasting impact in your community by helping others that are in need of help, but you will also have the opportunity to be a part of our Service Challenge Tour! Want to know how? We here at AMF look over all the projects and then pick 5-10 schools we want to go visit this November thru March. During the Service Challenge Tour our Staff will take pictures and videos of the progress/outcome of your project. In addition, we will be accompanied by a special guests such as Anthony Muñoz, Speakers from YLS, or friends of AMF. Make sure your project stands out and makes an impact because if so, we will be seeing you this school year!


Remember, while working on your Service Challenge projects we will be looking for schools that were able to make a lasting impact, have the most percentage of student participation, and are most creative. Now, let’s take this chance to get “Plugged In” to the community and make a difference. We are excited to see your projects!

If you are making a difference in your community comment below and let us know! We want to hear your stories and be able to share your experiences with others.

Megan Barger
Experience Intern