Riley Stuttz truly represents the model of a empathetic Silent Servant. Riley attends Deer Park High School-South Campus in Deer Park, Texas. During 2020’s pandemic-filled summer, Riley worked a part-time job and used the money he earned to purchase 24 backpacks filled with school supplies and personal items.
Riley’s backpacks were then given anonymously by school counselors to needy students at Deer Park High School. When Riley was asked why he did this, he stated that he, “…wanted to promote kindness in our society”. To present the award Deer Park created a video presentation on being kind to each other that was shown to the student body during their in-school broadcast, Deer Time.
Through the Peter R. Marsh Foundation’s Silent Servant Award, we recognize and reward students like Riley across America who unselfishly provide empathetic service to their communities. We provide students a tax-free $500 check and beautiful crystal award that schools can use to help improve their school culture by rewareding and encouraging selfless service in all students.
Do you know a Silent Servant? Any member of a high school’s staff many nominate a student for our award. It’s not a contest. Schools choose the student and, if they meet the simple guidelines, we send the award. Ususally within 2-3 weeks. To nominate a student go to: https://www.prmfoundation.org/student-nomination-form/
The Peter R. Marsh Foundation was proud to add our new Middle School Music Grant program this year, and we’re particularly pleased to now introduce Jan Greco as the Program Director.
Embarrassingly shy and self-conscious as a young girl, terrified of being in the spotlight, Jan avoided many of the childhood experiences that develop social and emotional intelligence at all cost. Common events such as delivering an oral report from the front of the classroom, performing at piano recitals or challenging for “first chair” in junior high band were far outside her comfort zone and she refused to participate, receiving little to no encouragement from her teachers or peers.
Unfortunately, bowing out of these opportunities fed the fears and hampered her personal growth and development for many years. Now a grandmother, Jan understands and appreciates the distinct life-value of those educational moments and is delighted to serve the Peter R. Marsh Foundation as Middle School Music Grant Program Director.
Jan is particularly inspired by the Foundation’s quest to aid in the social and emotional development of children and greatly encouraged by the focus on community service and relationships, particularly between students and the oft-neglected senior citizens across the country.
Yessenia Marin was a senior last year at Borrego Springs High School in Borrego Springs, CA. She actively served her school and community by participating in many fundraising and community events.
Yessenia knew even before COVID that the Borrego Little League was in desperate need of people to help work with children on the baseball teams and organizing the little league’s snack bar. So she started going regularly after school to help.
She also knew that during Covid, many families in her small community lost jobs and were facing hard times. So Yessinia helped organize several community groups that have come together to host a food bank for families in need, and she has continued to volunteer one day a week at the food bank since it opened, assisting families to make sure they have enough food.
Yessenia is also a member of the Soroptomist Club and has worked diligently to raise funds for projects in India, and local programs that served her community. She truly serves from the heart because she wants the community she lives in to be a better place for all families. This belief in service has led her to want a career where she can help people and she’s thinking about a career in Law Enforcement.
At the Peter R. Marsh Foundation, we know that we’re not only making a difference in student’s lives, but that they in turn are serving and helping so many others. We know it because we get cards and emails like the one below from recent Silent Servant Award winner Elijah Wooden of Muscogee HS in Muscogee, OK:
From: Elijah Wooden Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 5:59 PM To: Jim Warford Subject: Thank you!
Dear Mr. Warford,
My name is Elijah Wooden and I have recently been notified by my teacher Mr. Stinson that I was awarded the “Student Silent Servant Award”. I just wanted to say thank you so much, I am beyond grateful to be selected for this award! It is truly an honor to have been nominated for this award as there are so many other great students serving.
This award has deeply motivated me to keep serving in my community and to keep helping others. I truly believe servanthood is a vital key to leadership and an important component to have in our society. I pledge to keep progressing in servanthood and to keep helping others even when there is nothing in return.
Once again, I want to thank you and the Peter R. Marsh Foundation for selecting me for this award! I can’t wait to serve even more this year and help bring a positive change within my community. Thank you!
The Peter R. Marsh Foundation is proud to annouce we are expanding to middle schools this year by introducing a Middle School Music Grant Program! I’m personally proud because, as readers of my book, The Chemistry of Culture, know… The teacher who most changed my life was my Chorus teacher, Mary Kay Jones.
The purpose of our Music Grant Program is to support middle schools in their efforts to embed social and emotional intelligence in students. Student participation in public service activities is widely recognized as an effective way to accomplish this objective. Our grant supports student public service by providing funds music teachers can use to enhance their school music education program.
The “Music Grant Guidelines” at the link below address the need for student-service music performances to senior audiences. Live audience performances nurture skill, focus and confidence that pays dividends in other parts of the musician’s life.
The senior audience has considerable availability and is readily accessible in an assortment of senior living facilities, retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior centers, senior events and ceremonies, churches and through military/veterans’ organizations such as the VFW, American Legion and the VA.
No audience has a greater appreciation for children and student performances than do senior citizens. Through post-performance personal interaction with the seniors, the students will receive praise for their public service and encouragement to continue to serve. The personal engagement with the audience supports the primary purpose of the Music Grant Program and helps connect schools to their local community.
Natalie Flechas is a Senior at Vanguard High School in Ocala, FL, where she is Co-President of the Senior class and National Honor Society. Natalie makes everyone who walks into the school feel welcome. She leads with compassion and is liked and respected by all, because she leads by example.
Natalie is a counselor at the Royal Family Kids Camp, which is a camp for abused and neglected foster children. Natalie was nervous to be a counselor because she knew she could have a big impact on children’s lives. What she didn’t expect was that these kids would impact her life in the significant way that it did. She says she learned so much about how just one person’s actions and one person’s love could change the way these kids not only thought about themselves but what their life is worth. For some of these kids, camp was the only place where love and affection were shown to them.
In a year when nothing was ‘normal’ Natalie really stepped up. From her club adopting 30+ foster kids (and getting enough donations to get almost everything on their Christmas wish lists), to sending snacks to all of the essential workers at all three local hospitals, City and County Fire Department, the Health Department, and all seven City Fire Departments, to making homemade Valentines for every resident at three different nursing homes, to keeping Vanguard’s Positivity Wall filled with Positivity Posters, to collecting warm socks for nursing homes. Natalie was instrumental in every one of these projects as well as keeping track of volunteer hours, paperwork, agendas, and so much more behind the scenes duties.
Natalie organized and led Warm Ocala’s Soles. The purpose of this project was to collect socks for the homeless in Ocala. She was able to organize and set up collection boxes at various local businesses throughout Ocala and even advertised through local radio stations. Through much hard work She was able to collect over 2,000 pairs of socks. Natalie Flechas is a true “Silent Servant” helping to make this world a much better place to live.
Danika Leaver Brookings-Harbor High School, Brookings, OR
Danika Leaver is a senior at Brookings-Harbor High School and has demonstrated an amazing ability to serve her school and community, to donate time to the American Red Cross, and encourage other classmates to serve others at the same time. Danika has been coordinating the school blood drives for the last two years. Her duties are to recruit donors, coordinate donation times, set up and clean up the gym, communicate with administration and the office of absences missed by donors, collect permission slips, answer questions, troubleshoot problems arising in the gym on the day of the drive, coordinate student volunteers and make sure they are on task and doing their job, be a liaison between the school and the Red Cross, and reserve the gym and inform physical education teachers. For the month leading up to the blood drive she can spend 5 hours a week or more just trying to do all these things. The day of, she is in the gym for at least 8 hours that day. She then starts gearing up for the next one.
Danika has worked at the blood drives since her freshman year. At the end of October, Brookings-Harbor had their latest blood drive. Their goal for the school was 43 units. They were able to collect 54 units. For every unit collected, it has the potential to save 3 lives. This means that 162 people could get blood collected at our blood drive. Brookings-Harbor, with a population of 475 students has continually outperformed the much larger (1,500+ students) in the valley. This is due to the great organization and the recruitment efforts of Danika. When she graduates, she will train a new volunteer and the school plans to continue to outperform the large valley schools in southern Oregon. On top of all of the work that Danika donates to the American Red Cross, she also serves at the local food bank, Operation Christmas Child Donations, assisted in raising funds for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and has served as a class officer.
The Peter R. Marsh Foundation recognizes that students who selflessly and quietly serve others within their communities are some of our most valuable citizens. We have established the Silent Servant Award to honor them. For more information contact us at: http://www.prmfoundation.org
Kayla Dearman is an Air Force JROTC Cadet at Southern Wayne HS in Dudley, NC. She joined this program for the fellowship and the opportunity to serve her local community. She has been involved in numerous service projects throughout the years. Given the many challenges throughout this past year, it has been difficult to serve the community in any organized manner given personal contact restrictions.
However, this didn’t stop Kayla from providing a needed boost to her local community this past holiday season. She went to her Principal concerned about the need to help struggling families in the surrounding area and laid out her plan to provide food packages and gifts to those in need. She organized a crew of helpers, went out to local businesses, and managed to collect enough food and toys to assemble a dozen food boxes for the holidays, and presents for more than 40 local children.
Kayla organized a drive though pickup area and notified the families in need. All the families picked up enough food and presents to ensure they had one of the best holiday celebrations in recent memory. Kayla did all of this without help from the school staff.
Throughout her school career, she has been involved in helping others and improving the lives of the citizens of her community. Just this past year alone, she participated in 3 local parades (Veteran’s Day Parade, Christmas Parade, and the Black History Unity Parade). Kayla led 4 school campus cleanup and beautification projects, a Memorial Day flags on graves posting at the Mt. Olive Cemetery and participated in a flag raising over Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
In nearby Mt. Olive, Kayla created a dinner for the elderly held at the American Legion building, where she cooked a meal for more than 20 senior citizens. She also spearheaded 5 fund-raisers that raised enough money to ensure 27 students could go on a field trip without incurring any costs of their own. This is just a look at one year’s worth of projects. Kayla has been doing this for 4 years straight and never once brought attention to herself or her accomplishments. Kayla Dearman is an exceptional young lady!
The Peter R. Marsh Foundation recognizes that students who selflessly and quietly serve others within their communities are some of the most valuable citizens. Therefore, we have established the Silent Servant Award to honor them.
For four years Gianna Uribe has served West HS in Tracy, CA with unconditional devotion, effort, and passion. She has exemplified a selfless attitude and as president of the Student Body has worked countless long hours in giving her classmates and colleagues an enjoyable high school experience. Gina’s dedication to her school, her community and her town is demonstrated by her countless community service hours.
Just this year alone, Gina was a big contributor to the can food drive, she oversees all aspects of West High School’s community service which includes campus clean-up days, clothes drive, as well as numerous other events. Gianna truly exemplifies extraordinary skills by her actions.
Giana works many, many hours behind the scenes and is not the type that looks for recognition. Students and teachers say she is a true joy to be around and leads by example. In her position as Student Body President, Gina’s dedication and service to her school has been unmatched.
Gina is constantly making birthday posters for the staff as well as decorating their offices to keep the spirits up. During this very difficult school year Gina has helped rally the spirits of her fellow students, and her positive attitude has inspired others. The Peter R. Marsh Foundation is proud to recognize Gina Uribe with our Silent Servant award.
The new home of my work improving culture is the Peter R. Marsh Foundation, a non-profit, here in Washington State, where I’ve assumed the role of Program Director. My mission at the Foundation is to promote and support Social Emotional Learning, SEL, in high school students.
Through our Silent Servant Award, we recognize and reward students across America who unselfishly provide empathetic service to their schools and communities. We offer resources and support for schools choosing to make improving their school culture a priority.
In the face of the endless cycle of selfishness and dysfunction playing out in our daily news, it is incredibly inspiring to read about the selfless service students are giving all across America. Our Foundation has recognized students from New York to California, and Hawaii to the US Virgin Islands. In this space I will begin sharing some of their stories. Maybe they will inspire you too.
Neel Jain Westview High School, Beaverton, OR
Neel Jain created PDX Concierge, a free grocery delivery service during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. PDX Concierge launched in mid-April after Neel Jain went grocery shopping for his grandmother, whose age and asthma make her vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. “I just realized there are a lot of other people who may not have family and need help,” said Jain.
So far, his team of volunteers has made hundreds of deliveries in the metro Portland and Vancouver, WA area. Clients fill out a form online with their grocery list and volunteers will go buy the groceries and deliver them. Volunteers maintain social distancing guidelines and wear gloves and face masks while they shop. Clients then reimburse volunteers for the cost of the groceries, which are dropped off in front of their homes.
It’s a free service, so tips or donations are used for gas money, maintaining the website and helping pay for groceries for clients who need extra financial assistance. “It’s a great feeling to help out in this hard time,” Jain said. “Kids have a lot of time on their hands with schools being closed. It’s good to be able to put that to use.”
Over the past few years, the Peter R. Marsh Foundation has awarded American high school students the Silent Servant Award. The type of service our Silent Servants perform in their communities is endless. From helping communities to meet the COVID challenge, serving the homeless, being a mentor, bringing meals to the elderly, or helping prisoners find hope. Our Award recipients have devoted countless hours over multiple years serving others. Even more inspiring, they do so without expecting anything in return. Please visit our website and read more about our Silent Servant Award recipients inspiring stories.