Jordan Jones recently won the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award, which is awarded for achieving over 250 hours of community service — almost 10-and-a-half days — in one year.
The honor is awarded by the federal government for volunteering at qualified organizations. The gold award requires the most volunteer hours.
Jones primarily volunteers at Crossroads Community Ministries (CCM), a nonprofit organization located in downtown Atlanta that provides homeless people free meals and other services. Jones said he brings his set of skills and knowledge to CCM through many different activities.
“I have done all sorts of things. I have run toiletry and book bag drives, sold fidget spinners to raise money, made sandwiches for them to serve to the homeless, and served breakfast early in the morning in their kitchen,” Jones said.
While serving breakfast has been a great experience for Jones, he saw other community needs where he felt he could help.
“It is definitely the most fun, but I realized I could help out more by doing the other things I did,” he said.
Jones made $373 to donate to CCM by selling fidget spinners, handheld spinning gadgets that have surged in popularity in the past year, to his classmates.
“It also felt good that it was a money donation. I am positive that my friends at CCM know where that money needs to go most,” he said.
In addition to his fidget spinner enterprise, Jones has also organized a toiletry drive for CCM.
“I reached out to various private companies, like my dentist and mother’s health club, who sent loads of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and various other staple items that most people don’t think about. I couldn’t imagine living without toothpaste or soap,” Jones said. “I organized the toiletries myself into plastic bags and then gave them to CCM. CCM then distributed the kits to the homeless men, women, and children who walk through their doors everyday praying they get something to eat.”
Jones was inspired to volunteer by his sister’s service accomplishments.
“She really paved the way in introducing service to me. There was never really a big epiphany. Service was just something that I always made sure to do, not because I had to, but because I wanted to,” said Jones. “Usually, if a service opportunity came about, I’d just decide to do it and go with the flow, so to speak. It’s weird, I know, but I haven’t really thought that much of what I’ve done. It was always just common sense to me.”
Jones said his one regret is not getting more of his fellow students and friends to volunteer at CCM, but he is working to make Lovett a certified organization for the President’s Volunteer Service award so hours students spend volunteering for Lovett organizations can count towards receiving the award.
“Looking back, I wish I had gotten more people involved with me,” Jones said. “However, this year, I am working with my service coordinator at school to make Lovett a certified organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The intent is to give students the extra motivation to not just rack up the hours, but rack up the experience of working with the different people of our community.”
Jones plans to attend college in Georgia. He laments he won’t be able to volunteer as frequently as he has while in high school, but hopes others will continue to volunteer as he has.
“There is always time to do something for someone else,” he said.
This article was reported and written by Charlie Benedict, a junior at The Westminster Schools.
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