Happy New Year to the Live Civilly Nation! As we at Live Civilly look back over the past year, we are exceptionally grateful for all of the time, talents and gifts that our community partners, our volunteers, our donors and sponsors have chosen to share with us. All of these contributions have afforded us the opportunity to provide the youth and family in this community and others with services that serve nutritional, educational and life skills needs.
Beginning in January 2016 Live Civilly supported the Zimmermann Zandwich Project on Martin Luther
King Day. More than 120 young people, ages 4 to 16 came together to make 1100 sandwiches which were then transported to Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. This project was a great launching pad for a year STACKED with youth service.
The Live Civilly Community Service Club met for two sessions, early Spring and early Fall, with more than 30 students who were engaged in service projects from elder care visitations and food pantry support to partnering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Code Blue Shelter in Mount Holly. During each session, the youth in this club spent 6 continuous weeks working on broad based community service projects that they selected, developed and integrated into hands-on projects. From garden clean ups to dog toys, to food pantry projects, book drives and blessings bags, these young people were fully engaged in each project and were able have an impact in a variety of areas by working together. The Live Civilly motto of “people helping people helping people helping people” was fully discovered and developed.
The Live Civilly Community Supported Gardens were active in four sites throughout Moorestown and produced more
than 150 pounds of produce that was diverted to Live Civilly/Moorestown Ministerium Food Pantry and the other two food pantries in Moorestown. The gardens also engaged students at the UES in monthly workshops where they learned science curriculum real time, learned gardening techniques, and started seeds which became the plants that were planted in all of the garden sites. Live Civilly Community Supported Gardens have become educational-production gardens where youth learn life skills that benefit not only themselves but their community as well.
Live Civilly had two major events in 2016 – the March Madness Tournament of Giving and the Harvest Festival. The Tournament of Giving was a day-long basketball tournament from which the funds supported nutritional outreach programs like the ExCELS Snack Program and the Make-N-Take dinner program in partnership with the Department of Parks & Recreation. These programs provide local youth with nutritional support of healthy after school snacks and healthy meal preparation education. This funding has also provided more than 500 healthy lunches for local youth through the Summer Lunch Program.
The Harvest Festival was the first of its kind, celebrating volunteerism and community service. With over 250 guests on the Browning Hess Family Farm, Live Civilly hosted an evening of delicious food, amazing local entertainment and an old-fashioned, family friendly event that celebrated the more than 7,000 service hours that have been conducted over the last five years. The Harvest Festival was a huge success that perfectly illuminated what is possible through community support and collaboration.
The milestones achieved in 2016 have led us to ask, “What’s next in 2017?” The food pantry started by Live Civilly in 2011 has served more than 130,000 meals since its inception and has provided youth service hours through food collection, sorting and pantry stocking. The Community Supported Gardens have produced more than 500 pounds of fresh produce for local food pantries and learning and service opportunities for youth and families. Through collaboration with the Moorestown Ministerium more than 28,000 healthy snack have been provided to local youth through the after-school ExCELS Snack Program at “the Rec.” And each summer, in partnership with the Department of Parks & Recreation, Live Civilly has provided more than 3,000 healthy lunches through its Summer Lunch Program.
So what is next? More opportunities for youth and family to engage, be active and present in every day service opportunities. While Live Civilly will continue many of its projects in 2017, there will be new opportunities for youth service and youth leadership. Live Civilly’s original intent and mission was “to encourage every-day philanthropy and participation starting with our youngest citizens: To create a culture of understanding, connectivity and community and thereby offering children real opportunities for active engagement and empowering them to care for themselves and for one another.” This year there were an unprecedented number of “Independent Service Projects” that Live Civilly supported. Providing guidance and support to local youth who want to engage in service opportunities is why we do what we do. And while the Live Civilly Board thinks that have done a pretty good job at laying the groundwork, our goals for 2017 are to not only expand our own service programs and opportunities but to develop new ones, engage more young people and offer more innovative service and learning projects.