Arne Duncan – #VoicesofJAF

July 6, 2016 by mitchellcohen

We Power Those who Change the World

We believe that celebration is inspiration, and that by telling incredible stories about Jefferson Award winners, we inspire more people to participate in public service. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing stories from our National Ceremony, where Jefferson Award winners talked about their service and how winning a Jefferson Award magnifies their efforts and boosts their impact. They are the #VoicesofJAF.

Donate today to help us tell more of these inspiring stories. With your support, we can highlight more heroes who deserve recognition and engage more Americans than ever before in the power of public service. 

In June, Arne Duncan received the 2016 U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Outstanding Public Service By An Elected or Appointed Official. He has dedicated his career to lifting up the lives of young people, serving as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Managing Partner of Emerson Collective.

At our National Ceremony, he spoke with young leaders who are making a tremendous impact in their communities as part of Students In Action (SIA), our program which drives teenagers to become leaders in their schools and communities by helping them discover the issues they care about and providing tools for maximum measurable impact. These conversation show his ability to connect with young people and push them to achieve great things.

Thatiana Esquivel spoke with him about how Students In Action has helped her overcome stereotypes and break the cycle of teen pregnancy in her family. Thatiana is a member of Greenville Technical Charter High School’s SIA team, which was honored as the top SIA team in the country.

Being a part of Students In Action, I have been able to show that I am breaking the chain of teen pregnancy in my family. I’m currently 16, and I have wonderful grades in school. I’m currently taking college classes, and I plan on graduating with an Associate Degree in science.

Relando Collier, Jr. of Willowbrook Middle School spoke with Arne Duncan about growing up in Compton, CA, and how Students In Action is powering his classmates to change the face of his community.

We noticed that if we want people to stop looking at us because of where we’re from, we have to do something about it. We decided to clean up our community and get our community looking right so we have something to brag about.

Thatiana and Renaldo represent two schools from out of nearly 400 that participate in Students In Action. In the 2015-2016 school year, SIA students engaged nearly 70,000 of their peers to give 2.6 million volunteer hours and they collected $1.7 million for local, national, and international charities.

Donate now to help us tell more stories of public service that engage even more Americans to get involved in their communities. 

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