Organization Sparks Sense of Service in Teens

In an effort to give service as much focus as academics or athletics, GivingPoint, based in Roswell, was founded to involve youth ages 13-19 in the act of giving back to their community and in turn, receive grants for service projects and earn scholarships towards college.

Last Saturday, volunteers came to Alpharetta High School to help in the beautification efforts of the school’s community garden, which was headed by Isabelle Marsh, now a senior, in 2009. “I wanted to learn leadership skills and this garden needed a lot of work,“ said Marsh. By getting involved with GivingPoint, Marsh helped the 2,000-square-foot garden receive a grant through the organization’s corporate partner State Farm Insurance, and it now contains flower beds, an outdoor classroom and a walking trail.

The organization works on a social media platform to engage teenagers in volunteerism. By joining the organization’s web site, each person earns points for various activities such as serving, blogging, writing thank-you notes and more. Once the student reaches 500 points, they become eligible to apply for a grant toward a community service project and create a project of their own. Additionally, each student builds a civic transcript to use for college applications.

Like Marsh, students such as Cesar Chavez, a senior at The New Schools at Carver, established the Georgia High School Graduation Test Prep Club which tutors juniors to excel at the test given every spring, while Forest Ogunyankin, of Chamblee High School, decided to raise funds for an orphanage in The Republic of Georgia, after he returned from a mission trip to the war-torn country.

“As students get involved, they realize that there is something bigger than them and find ways to give back,” said Ansley Colby, CEO of GivingPoint. “This organization, with our schools and community, wants to help students find their passion, and through service, we are giving kids an experience and a gateway to find their purpose.”

GivingPoint, since launching in 2009, has over 4,000 teens who have volunteered more than 100,000 hours and raised more than $500,000 for different community service projects. The organization is also active in over 250 schools nationally, with majority of them in Georgia.

To volunteer with GivingPoint, visit

In Other News: New Outlook Pioneers donated 1,200 pounds of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Sept. 26. The donation is a part of the Pioneer Dish It Up: Feeding Families Healthy Food initiative that aims to feed one million meals across the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Colorado, New Outlook Pioneers is a part of Pioneer Volunteers , a telecommunications volunteer organization that takes part in community service efforts.