United Way honors teacher, Youth Venturers

FITCHBURG, Mass. – More than 350 young change makers were showcased for their inspiring efforts to improve their communities during Change Rocks, the United Way Youth Venture Celebration at the Courtyard by Marriott in Fitchburg, Mass., on May 7.

Youth from middle and high schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts participated in the half-day event, which included targeted learning sessions and special guest speaker Jeff Yalden, a youth motivational speaker and an MTV “Made” teen life coach.

“The regional celebration provides a tremendous opportunity for these young people to network and share ideas with fellow students who are creating positive changes in their communities” said Lucille Jordan, president of Nashua Community College and chairperson of United Way’s Youth Venture Committee. “Every young person attending this event has experienced the power of initiating positive social change – making them more likely to continue their efforts as adults, and to experience a lifetime of leadership and community service.”

Michael Facques, teacher in Amherst, was named Champion of the Year for his passion, dedication and hard work on launching 10 teams out of Souhegan High School since the program began in 2006.

New Hampshire Venturers Spencer Davis, Kristin Leffler and Jackie Marcoux were honored with full scholarships to Youth Venture’s annual Summit in Boston in June.

Davis, senior at Souhegan High School, is the lead Venturer of Rubber Ducky Studios, a team that creates and produces commercials for local nonprofits that cannot afford to make their own. Leffler, Souhegan High School junior, is a member of two Venture teams: Birthday Wish, which provides birthday kits for local youth whose parents cannot afford to throw them a party, and Ethics Forum, which is raising money to send books to children in Sierra Leonne. Marcoux, junior at Nashua High School North and lead Venturer of JS Treasures, provides jewelry-making classes to at-risk females of all ages, thereby instilling self-confidence through a new skill.