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Local student service organization’s members to serve on April 25, 2009, at America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay.

In recognition of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), on Saturday, April 25, South Tampa- based student service organization GET REAL Involved! will join over three million youth worldwide by volunteering at America’s Second Harvest where they will assist in sorting surplus food to be distributed among Hillsborough County’s needy.

GET REAL Involved! is a student program that focuses on engaging Hillsborough County middle and high school students in community service.   Formed in 2006,  GET REAL Involved! was started in an effort to overcome the barriers to youth engagement in volunteerism, including “not knowing how to begin” and “lack of transportation.”

In addition to being a major initiative of the Obama Administration, in Hillsborough County as in other Florida counties community service is a key criterion for eligibility for Bright Futures Scholarships as well as for entrance to select honors programs and scholastic organizations.  Through its monthly turnkey community service trips in support of area agencies such as America’s Second Harvest, Metropolitan Ministries and others, GET REAL Involved! assists area teens in meeting their volunteer hour requirements among friends and peers via planned, organized, and chaperoned volunteer events.  Moreover, GET REAL Involved! provides an environment independent of parents where students are free to develop their own value system relative to community service.

Sponsored by the Youth Ministry of Hyde Park United Methodist Church, since its inception GET REAL Involved! has logged a total of 1,200 local service hours.  All trips are fully chaperoned by background checked adults, and all sites are screened to insure accommodation of student groups.

For GET REAL Involved!’s Saturday, April 25th Global Youth Service Day event, students will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Hyde Park United Methodist’s Magnolia Building.  From there, they will be transported as a group to America’s Second Harvest for a four hour shift.  Following the shift, students will be transported back to HPUMC’s Magnolia Building for pick up by parents.  Participation in the event is open to all area middle and high school students upon completion of the required parental permission forms, obtainable upon arrival for the event.

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New Event Registration Process

Volunteer hours are important – and GET REAL Involved! strives to provide opportunities to allow students to earn important service hours for BRIGHT FUTURES SCHOLARSHIPS as well as other service clubs and honors programs. To help us with this, we have begun using a website called Eventbrite to manage event registration.

Beginning with the March GET REAL Involved! project at Open Arms, participants MUST register via Eventbrite to secure a guaranteed spot, and to earn the service hours. All of the links in the Upcoming Events sidebar to the right will take you to the Eventbrite website where you can “buy” a ticket to the event you wish to attend. There is no cost associated with the ticket, but this way we can keep track of the number of attendees we will be expecting, and communicate with attendees as needed.

We have limited space on many of our trips, either because of the amount of work involved, or number of seats on our bus, and it is imperative that we have an accurate count for our trips. Help us to provide as many opportunities as we can for all who want to serve by only registering for events you KNOW you will attend. This will insure that we won’t have to turn away someone who can serve because of a “sold out” situation. Thank you for your cooperation.

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