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Good Shepherd Alliance Elects Rising High School Seniors as Board of Directors

The students who take part on the GSA board take away much from the experience including how to handle leadership and responsibility.

The Good Shepherd Alliance (GSA) is proud to announce its newest student board members for the 2012-2013 school year. Will Ardellas (Tuscarora High School) has accepted the role of Chair and will be supported by Taylor Nelson (Broad Run High School) as Vice Chair of the GSA Youth Advisory Group. Both rising seniors will serve as student board members of the GSA Board of Directors as well.  Ardellas and Nelson provide the GSA with leadership, volunteerism in social services, and the ability to network with other student organizations, youth groups and community leaders. These students display a passion to plan and initiate programs to get high school youth involved in serving the needs of our indigent and homeless population.

GSA collaborated with LCPS Superintendent Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick, Director of Student Services Suzanne Jimenez and Supervisor of Guidance Services Marilyn Jackson to solicit resumes from each Loudoun County high school. GSA Vice Chair and Youth Director Bob Ohneiser along with fellow GSA board members Jim Baratta, Linda Lefebvre, James Thrash and Bahman Batmangheidj assisted in establishing the criteria and the selection process of the student board members.

This is the fourth year that the GSA has invited members of the youth community to participate on their Board of Directors. The Youth Advisory Group works shoulder to shoulder with the board to promote GSA homeless services and programs in Loudoun schools and the GSA pledges its resources and mentoring strengths to support their projects. The student group strives to reach the untapped potential of their 15,000 peers by getting them out and volunteering. Past Youth Advisory Group members have worked with clubs and student organizations at their schools to plan and execute awareness and fundraising projects.

Broad Run High School held a GSA Bake Sale at their sold-out, televised high school basketball game. After matching donations, the group raised $1000 and social awareness for the GSA. A "Heart for the Homeless" Music Fest was held at Founders Hall Ashburn Fire House. Four bands were featured and 70 high school students attended the successful event.  Youth group members were also responsible for the creation and sale of a poetry book with poems about “home” written by children, raising funds to go out and perform needed maintenance on a GSA shelter, and throwing a “Sleep-Out” in the Loudoun Valley High School gymnasium which raised $5,000 and awareness about homelessness.

This year the Good Shepherd Alliance Youth Avisory Group is seeking donations for an All-County High School Raffle which will be held in the Spring of 2013. The youth are seeking donations for restaurants, entertainment, electronics, sports and recreation, car services, travel or gift cards. Five dollar tickets will be sold at each high school to raise money to support the GSA mission of providing help and hope for the homeless and those in need through emergency and transitional housing and outreach services. Any local businesses who are interested in donating please contact: Will Avdellas at wavdellas@gmail.com.

The students who take part on the GSA board take away much from the experience including how to handle leadership and responsibility. They serve as the connection between the board and their peers, spreading the reality about homelessness while also mobilizing Loudoun’s youth and showing them the importance and satisfaction of volunteering for a cause you care about. To learn more about how your school or business can partner with the GSA Youth Advisory Group, contact Bob Ohneiser at ohneiser@verizon.net.

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