Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Half of Oklahoma's top youth volunteers are ... homeschoolers

The best estimates are that 3 to 4 percent of the nation's school-age population is homeschooled, and there's no reason to think Oklahoma isn't in that ballpark. But even though homeschoolers account for a tiny fraction of the overall student population, they comprise 50 percent (3 out of 6) of Oklahoma's top youth volunteers.
Parth Singh, 16, of Jenks [High School] and [homeschooler] Timothy Reeves, 12, of Okmulgee today were named Oklahoma's top two youth volunteers for 2011 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its 16th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). ...
Timothy, a sixth-grader at Reeves Homeschool Academy and a member of the Okmulgee County 4-H, has raised more than $4,600 for a local Ronald McDonald House over the past three years. Timothy started raising money for his cause when he joined 4-H three years ago and decided he wanted to "pay back" all that was done for his sister. "From the time she was born until she was around 3, she was in and out of the hospital several times," said Timothy. "Organizations like Ronald McDonald House made our family’s situation a little easier." ...

Every year, Timothy’s fund-raising total has increased, helping to pay bills at the Ronald McDonald House, stock the refrigerator for families staying there, build more Ronald McDonald houses to shelter families whose children are hospitalized, and fund research to find cures for sick kids. "We will never know how many people this money has touched or how many it will touch," said Timothy. "All I know is that this is a way that I can do my small part in a big world."

The program judges also recognized four other Oklahoma students as Distinguished Finalists for their volunteer efforts, and two of them are homeschoolers.

"These award recipients have proven that young people across America are critical to the future of our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world," said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. "Each and every one of these honorees deserve our respect and admiration, and we hope by shining a light on them, they will continue to serve as an example for others."

"The young people recognized by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards demonstrate an enormous capacity for giving and reaching out to those in need," said Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "NASSP is proud to honor these student leaders because they are wonderful examples of the high caliber of young people in our nation's schools [or not] today."

Again, we must ask ourselves: But what about socialization?

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