Joshua Brown essay


Volunteering helps benefit individuals or a community and is a meaningful way to help others. I personally have volunteered since 6th grade with a non-profit organization called the “I’m A Star Foundation”.  We host various events throughout the year in the city of Jacksonville to help benefit others.  Our two main initiatives are Jacksonville H.E.L.P.S. (Homeless Students Empowered through Leadership Personal Commitment and Service) and Let’s Move Jacksonville.  Jacksonville H.E.L.P.S.  is an event that I Co- Chaired for three years. The goal is to raise awareness of the 2700 homeless students that we have in Duval County. We host a telethon, a celebrity basketball game, and utilize social media to raise awareness and raise money to eliminate homelessness among students. We donate all proceeds to Duval County Public School’s Homeless Education Department.  Since the inception of the initiative, we have raised $93,000.  The money raised is utilized for college scholarships and basic living necessities. This major donation was meaningful to the homeless students because it allowed them to know that there are people like myself that care and love them deeply. No child should have to worry about whether they will have a place to live from day to day. Every child should have a place to call home. My goal was to provide students and their families with safe shelter or hotel room to stay at, a hot meal to eat, basic living necessities, access to free public transportation, school supplies and clothing.  The challenge of this initiative is that it took a great deal of time and effort to raise the money, but the reward of seeing the raw emotion of a high school students face after he received a scholarship to attend college at the University of North Florida was priceless.

Let’s Move Jacksonville is an event that we host every December to help promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle among young people and adults. We promote healthy eating, give out fresh fruits and vegetables, offer recipes, have line dancing, and various sports activities.  The I’m A Star Foundation is a way that I help serve others.  It is something that I feel passionate about and something that I enjoy doing. To provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables to the community we have set up a produce market in downtown Jacksonville, Florida at the Rosa Parks bus station every week. The market addresses the issue of local food deserts in the Jacksonville community.  It has taught me the true essence of leadership, commitment, and responsibility. Helping others to understand the importance of exercising regularly and eating healthy foods was the entire focus of the project. Ensuring adults and children can get active and eat right was rewarding because I understand that these are two components of life and witnessing individuals enjoy the process of being active was rewarding. When hosting these events, there were a great deal of challenges and obstacles. Some of these challenges included: gaining sponsors, promoting and publicizing the event through social media, community engagement and participation.  I know what it means to serve others and it goes beyond my own personnel benefit, rather it is for the greater good of others.  If my community is active and healthy, then I will have left a positive legacy in my community.



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