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

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!

Starting the New Year with Service Challenge Projects

Just because 2013 is almost over doesn’t mean Service Challenge projects are!

With 2014 in sight we are getting ready for our second round of Service Challenge Tours! Once we get back from Christmas break we will have a new batch schools and projects to visit. Isn’t this a great way to start the New Year?

no_gunsThere are some really great projects to start off the year! Aiken High School will be hosting a week of awareness to Stop the Violence (Gun Violence) that is occurring in their community. Within the past two years Aiken High School has lost nine students to gun violence and by having this week of awareness they hope it result in a change of behavior throughout their community. During this week they will be having rallies with guest speakers and a few different after-school activities such as a celebrity basketball game and also a concert with positive Rap groups.

1292951239298Ross High School will be focusing on putting a 5k in 2014 during the spring quarter. The 5k will create awareness for juvenile diabetes. Not only will this event create awareness, but will give Ross the opportunity to honor a seven-year-old student that recently passed away. We can’t wait to see the end results in your Service Challenge project and hope you keep us updated with pictures and videos!

Don’t forget that we will be choosing two winners of the Service Challenge project this upcoming April! First place will win $2000 and the ability to be the first group to ride the Banshee, the new 2014 King’s Island ride and second place will win $1,000. The winnings will allow the students to continue making an ever-lasting impact in their community. You’ll want to be sure to keep us updated through Twitter using #AMFChallenge with your project details so we can visit your school to see your project in action.

Megan Barger
Experience Intern

I am thankful for…

Be thankful and take this opportunity to give back!

What are you thankful for today? There is so much to be thankful for that we take for granted or we just don’t take the time to appreciate what we have. I know that am beyond thankful for my family. The past four and a half years have been difficult at times but with their guidance and support that they have given me I will be graduating college in a few weeks.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner we would like for you to take this time to reflect on the ways that you have volunteered to make an impact in your community. We here at AMF are so thankful for all the students that are getting involved in Service Challenge to make a difference in their community. During the holiday season we challenge you to step out of the comfort of your project and volunteer in your community in any way you think your community needs help. If you aren’t sure of what you can do, it’s okay we are here to help! I’ve listed a few ideas hoping that you take this opportunity to give back to your community.

Volunteer Ideas:

  • Collect Teddy Bears and Board Games to donate to the Children’s Hospital
  • Volunteer at the Drop Inn Center that is located downtown Cincinnati
  • Clean-up around your school
  • Clothing/coat drive
  • Collecting can-goods

This is a chance to improve your community, to give back, and to help others that are in need! If you have already volunteered and done something to make a difference or know of a way for someone to give back, please comment below and share your experience with us so we can share your story with others.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Today we are going on our Second Service Challenge Tour of the year visiting Turpin High School to see their Service Challenge project in action. Lastly, through our blog post we will be announcing future tour dates, stay-tuned to find out if we will be visiting your school this year.

Megan Barger
Experience Intern

It’s Almost Time To Get “Plugged In”

Wow That Was Fast. YLS Is Right Around The Corner.

Can you believe YLS is only 1 day away?! We have been preparing around the clock here at the Anthony Muñoz Foundation to put together yet another successful installment of our annual Youth Leadership Seminar. We hope you are as excited as we are because #PluggedIn2013 is going to be awesome! This week’s blog will give you some tips to get you prepared for YLS.

We want everyone to be “Plugged In!”

  • Start by following us on Twitter and Facebook where we will
  • Bring your smartphones and devices to the event. We will host Twitter and Instagram contests with some pretty cool prizes!
  • Make sure your devices are fully charged because you will be very interactive! There will be a chance to text questions to our speakers!
  • Check out Megan’s Service Challenge Blog so you can begin brainstorming ideas for your school. We have an amazing prize for our 1st place school this year!
  • Bring a positive attitude and don’t worry about lunch (Chick-fil-A has you covered)

Do you feel ready for YLS? Feel free to ask us any questions you may have and we will be glad to answer them.

Adam Berman
Events Intern

Talawanda High School Makes everyday Service Challenge Friday

Talawanda knows just how to help those in need and make everyday Service Challenge Friday.  Talawanda has been an important part of YLS by attending since 2005! Students who attended the Youth Leadership Seminar in collaboration with several other high schoolers came up with an idea to “Split the Pot” at their men and women’s basketball games to help local families in need.  Students used the money raised to purchase foods and other goods as well as items generously donated from Kroger, Walmart and the Future Farmers of America to fill what they called, “Braves Baskets”.  The students presented these baskets to the district principals who then gave them to the Imagelocal families.

Special thanks to Denise Zimmerman who helped provide the information for this blog and who also let me know how busy all of these students were but still managed to go to planning meetings and create these baskets for those in need.

Awesome job, Talawanda!  Good luck with your future plans in continuing the project.

Remember Hamilton High School? We’ll catch up with their project for this year next week. Stay tuned!


Experience Intern

Service Challenge Tour Announcement

Have you heard?  The Anthony Muñoz Foundation is going on tour!  For the first time ever, we will be doing a Service Challenge School Tour and we want to stop at your school.  We will stop at 7-10 schools along the way and we hope your school is one of these stops. (To read more about what the Service Challenge Project is, check out our past blog here)


*Disclaimer: Unfortunately, we will not be in this cool bus.

If you would like your school to be one of our stops, please let us know your project details, dates, and times that we could visit.  So now you may be thinking, “What will happen at each tour stop?”  Well, staff from the Foundation will come take some pictures, film some video, interview you about the project, and maybe even bring some special guests… Like who?  Like Anthony Muñoz!

Keep working hard out there.  We are so happy that you are participating in the Service Challenge.  You are doing great things for others and for your community!


AMF Experience Intern