Little Blue Bookshop
The Little Blue Bookshop aims to address youth literacy head-on, by providing free and loaned gently used books at several community locations where families in need typically receive supports. Their model is particularly important for families who may not have books of their own and tend to be transient and unable to borrow from libraries. The Team holds regular book drives and maintains an informative website to raise awareness.
Ayer Shirley Regional Middle School
This Venture Team makes baked goods and sells them in the Shirley community at various community events. All profits are donated to organizations within the school and the town of Shirley.
Shirley School Store
Shirley Middle School now has a school store that not only provides students with the supplies they need, they also donate a portion of their profits to charity.
Energy Through Creativity (E.T.C.)
Noticing a lack of activities for younger students after school, this group of middle school girls that love to dance started this Venture Team. They hold after-school dance classes for 4th grade girls at the elementary school. At the end of the school year they invite parents and community members to a recital where the 4th graders show all that they have learned.
This Venture Team raises money through sports tournaments for students. They raise money by selling refreshments and donated sports equipment. All money raised is used to replace damaged text books at the middle school.
Kids at Play
This Venture Team provides after-school activities, such as arts and crafts for elementary students.
This Venture Team provides fun after school entertainment for all, by playing movies and holding other after school activities. This gives people both young and old a place to go and share in activities together
With a passion and skill for gardening this group of middle school boys planted a community vegetable garden. All of the vegetables that are grown are donated to the local food bank.
Fix It Up Wrap It Up
This Venture Team sews clothing items which are donated to local charities and sold to raise money for local charities.
Shirley Arts for All (SAFA)
This Venture Team started a scholarship fund for the Shirley Arts Program. The Team sells hot dogs and refreshments at school and community events to raise money for the fund.
SMS Literary Magazine
With many talented students within the middle school, this Venture Team decided to create a literary magazine for the school where students can submit written work. The magazine is published and shared with the school and the community.
The Project Swim team will help the community by giving kids something to do in the summer. Being a part of the Shirley Swim Team will give kids from Shirley and the surrounding towns a place and time to exercise and be healthy.
Skaters of Shirley (S.O.S.)
Recognizing the need for a safe place to practice their favorite activity, and using several fundraising strategies, the team will begin to create a community skate park at Benjamin Hill Park in Shirley. The members of this team include young people from Shirley and the surrounding communities, and attend several different schools.
The Rolled Up Newspaper
The Rolled-Up Newspaper Team will work with elementary students to create and write a newspaper for the students at Lura A. White Elementary School. The newspaper will educate and inform the school and greater Shirley community of the goings-on of the school.
Food Dudes was created to hold year round canned food drives to give directly back to Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry that many in the community depend on.
Supplies for Good
Due to district wide budget cuts, teachers in Shirley have resorted to purchasing classroom school supplies out of their own pockets. In order to support the teachers and students of Shirley Middle School this team was created to fundraise year round and fill the financial gap. They will give back to not only their school but their community at large.
T.R.U.N. 2 is a middle school newspaper for the students by the students. The students that make up this team were originally junior members of T.R.U.N. who were so empowered that they decided to evolve their venture into a more mature and very necessary middle school newspaper that they themselves will write, produce, publish and fundraise to sustain
Group 5 mobilized the entire school to get behind a school fundraiser to upgrade the equipment in Shirley Middle School’s technical-education department, by establishing the first Fun Day Extravaganza to support their efforts. They are looking forward to replicating the event next year to continue to better the school’s technical-education department.
Intramural Volleyball Team
This team plans to create an intramural volleyball team, offering lessons to train students at the middle school in the sport of volleyball so that when they arrive at the high school they are prepared to try out for the volleyball team there. The team is providing students with an avenue to partake in an after-school activity not offered by the school, as well as an opportunity for fellowship.
Shirley School Mascot
This group presented a School Mascot to Shirley Middle School and aimed to grow school spirit in the coming years.
This team intends to purchase new playground equipment for use by the entire school body, promoting physical fitness and active play school-wide.
This Venture was developed due to one Venturers illness, Childhood Arthritis. They have been operating for three years on their own by making and selling handmade jewelry and in 2010 officially launched a Venture. The students aim to promote awareness of childhood arthritis and to donate money to foundations to help find a cure for the disease.
Affected by the many serious cases of swine flu around America during the 09-10 school year, this Venture aims to prevent illness in their school by installing hand sanitizing stations. They hope to speak to the school body to inform them of the importance of washing your hands, proper technique and that by doing this they can prevent the spread of many infections and diseases.
This Venture Team, desperate for more projects to do in art class, do fundraisers to help pay for more art supplies in their classroom. With the funding being cut in many school districts, that get rid of the arts, the Shirley Art program relies mostly on the Art Teacher spending money out of her own pocket as well as a bare bones classroom, with few golf pencils to last the full year. This venture hopes to keep this from happening, and so they may be able to even have an art show during the year that students are able to participate in.
Three students from the Shirley Middle Schools fifth grade started a club for students who don’t want to join sports teams to make friends and have fun after school. Instead of sports (some of the only after school activities) the students in this club build with Lego’s and are able to compete in Saturday Lego building competitions held so that students younger than middle school age, can participate as well.
Affected by the 2008 ice storm in North Central Massachusetts, these students collect coats year round for families who cannot afford to keep warm during the winter. After these coats are collected, they are then taken to Anton’s Cleaners, who donates their services and cleans the coats before they are given out to the community. Students plan to hold coat drives year round, that run very similar to food drives. Their first drive was a tremendous success where they collected 85 coats in 3 weeks.
Ayer-Shirley Middle School Football Venture was founded after a group of boys recognized the need for a semi-competitive football team at their middle school. Currently, the only fall sport that is offered at Ayer-Shirley Middle School is soccer, with 430 students who attend ASMS, soccer allows only 36 students with the opportunity to participate. Members of the ASMS Venture would not only love the opportunity to play football, but have also acknowledged the need to bring two communitues together, Ayer and Shirley, as this is their first year of regionalization.
In an effort to make basketball more accessible, these students will have fundraisers to install basketball hoops at the local elementary school. Currently, if students want to play at the local middle school after school hours, they have to pay to join the after-school program. This Venture hopes that through their Venture, more young people will have a positive outlet and lead healthier lives.
Breast Cancer Awareness
The Breast Cancer Awareness Youth Venture team founded their idea after supporting their own family members in the fight against breast cancer. Through this difficult journey, they recognized their desire to educate others about this disease, which affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States alone (BreastCancer.org). Venturers from Breast Cancer Awareness will host their own booth at a popular local event, The Shirley Hoe Down, with information to educate community members about breast cancer as well as present an array of their own products, including t-shirts and homemade jewelry, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
After an active Peace Corps volunteer visited Ayer-Shirley Middle school, explaining the lack of available technology in the Panamanian city he is currently serving, young people from Ayer-Shirley Middle School decided they wanted to help. However, they also acknowledged that their own technology at the middle school is lacking ,therefore deciding that they would like to ultimately help both their own technology department as well as a this particular city in Panama—possibly donating their middle school’s old computers!??! Computer Kidz Youth Venture team
Fun & Fit Friends
This dynamic group of Venturers want to encourage the next generation of young people to be fit and healthy—using fun, innovative ways to stay active and eat right. Fun & Fit Friends Youth Venture wants to educate their peers on how to eat well—not forgetting about taste. For instance, this Venture team presented the idea of making their own homemade oh-so-good-for-you fruit smoothies! Further, Fun and Fit Friends would like to purchase tetherballs, jump ropes, hula hoops, four squares, and other games to make exercise a lot more fun for their fellow peers at Ayer-Shirley Middle School.
Hugs for Homeless
The “Hugs for Homeless” Venture was founded after its members recognized how the current U.S. economy is affecting our communities, leaving people out of work and families in need of support. Consequently, they acknowledged the need to help their local homeless shelters. Hugs for Homeless will hold two fundraisers each month and give a portion of their earnings to a homeless shelter. Ultimately, this Youth Venture intends to focus on a different shelter each month, ensuring that their services are available to many different shelters throughout Massachusetts.
Monthly Movie Group
With the rising costs of movie tickets and concession items, forcing many families to stay at home rather than going to the movie theater, a group of young people from Ayer-Shirley middle school came up with a solution: host a movie night on their school’s big screen! Viola! A Monthly Movie Youth Venture is born! This Venture team plans to simply charge movie-goers for refreshments and after purchasing a movie license, are able to show movies for free. Moreover, as two middle schools, Ayer and Shirley, have recently combined, this movie night gives students and parents a great opportunity to meet regularly for a family-friendly event, forming a more close-knit Ayer-Shirley community.
Paws & Claws
As animal lovers, this group of young middle school students wants to help the ASPCA and local animal shelters. They plan to collect gently used bedding to offer additional comfort to animals in shelters, hold fundraisers to financial support local organizations and create posters and brochures to spread awareness.
Pops Fur Pups
Members of Pops Fur Pups were inspired to create their Venture after discovering the alarming number of animals which are euthanized in our local animal shelters. Pops Fur Pups would like to raise awareness of this problem, as well as other issues that our local animal shelters face, including overcrowding and low adoption rates. Ultimately, Pops Fur Pups would like to advocate for our furry friends through public awareness, hoping to inspire others to adopt from their local animal shelters, as well as raise money for the Sterling Animal Shelter, selling baked goods and crafts, particularly their scrumptious homemade dog treats.
Tired of seeing chipped paint and graffiti cover their school walls, this group of students wants to repaint their school. They hope that by doing this, it will amplify student pride and offer interested students a positive and artistic outlet.
Pairing up to take on a big issue, Shannon and Deanna are taking central Massachusetts by storm from their Ayer Shirley Middle School. Both with strong ties to developmental differences, Shannon’s brother Liam has autism, and Deanna learned from her cousin’s experiences in the health field at a young age the importance of de-stigmatizing differences, and encouraging people to pay attention to things they can do about improving the lives of those with differences. Buy selling blue light bulbs for people to use in awareness of autism and selling puzzle piece shaped baked goods, Shannon and Deanna’s goal of having Shirley and Ayer “Light up Blue” municipal buildings around town will truly shine a light on the cause of autism.
Shelby knows what it’s like to live with juvenile diabetes, and lives her life as fully as anyone else- and wants you to know about it! Along with her friend Sarah, these two middle school students from Ayer and Shirley are setting out to help other young people with diabetes by raising money to send a student with juvenile diabetes to the JDRF summer camp that Shelby has attended. To give back and show her appreciation for being able to make friends with other youth with diabetes, Dia-Helpers intends to use sugar-free bake sales and hosting Dance-a-thons at their middle school to drum up interest, provide the funding, and keep their venture going and growing.
Bonjour! The French Café Venture Team from Ayer Shirley Middle School is excited to share French culture with their classmates and those of visiting schools by providing after-school snacks of the French variety to students that stay after school and for visiting school sports teams and friends that visit their campus. Keith, Erin, Charlie, and Yesid, all take French class together, and while the French classes are much smaller than the Spanish language classes offered, they want to expand the influence of French culture throughout their middle school to make sure that a variety of language classes continues to be offered. Yesid, already fluent in Spanish, takes French and enjoys learning other languages and about the cultures they come from. With the profits from their French Café, these Venturers hope to keep their Venture sustainable through purchasing more supplies, and using the profits to purchase French cultural learning tools and posters to utilize in their academic classes.
This Venture plans to create an Independent Study Program at the school for students who want to learn languages other than the two offered already (Spanish and French), or for students who learn better as an independent student. The Venture team will do this through Rosetta Stone software.
One Mic, Many Voices
Members of this Venture team plan to raise funds to create a recording studio for their school.
Roots and Shoots
I bet you’ve thought about adopting a cat or dog, but have you ever thought about ZOO-doption? Roots and Shoots Venture Team has! Nadia, Josh, and Alicia are the founding members of Ayer Roots and Shoots, a Venture Team that plans to raise awareness about the importance of rainforest protection and animal habitats and ecosystems. With self-designed t-shirts encouraging people to ‘swing into action’, Roots and Shoots will use the profits of their Venture to remain self-sustaining, while also donating money to the Jane Goodall Foundation to protect chimpanzees and gorillas in Gombe, Tanzania. Closer to their homes in central Massachusetts, Roots and Shoots will also expand their education of zoology and wild animal care by adopting an animal at the Franklin Park Zoo, and help everyone understand how even though it seems like a big planet, each creature deserves its own place to call home without infringement or harm from humans.
Save Shirley Sports
This group of young people wants have radar gun pitching contests in order to raise money for the Shirley Recreation Softball and Baseball program, after all of their sporting equipment was stolen.
Fashion forward as well as forward-thinking, Sydney and Isabella decided to combine their interest in fashion and forests to start their Venture Team, The Foresters. By hosting fashion shows, auctioning off the apparel worn during the shows, and using their creative designer skills to make animal print duct tape jewelry and accessories, they plan to make their Venture on-going, with several shows a year, involving community members and peers as models and judges. Beyond keeping their Venture sustainable, keeping the rainforest habitats sustainable is their major focus, with proceeds benefitting the organization, Rainforest Foundation US.
Throw Away Breast Cancer
Nicole and her two friends, Desiree and Molly, started the Throw Away Breast Cancer Venture Team after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis had a major effect on Nicole’s family. Throw Away Breast Cancer Venturers aim to raise awareness and collect donations to help patients receive treatments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Venturers will acquire their donations for Brigham and Women’s by picking up trash and upcycling it into goods that can be sold for a profit, including bottle cap magnets. They also plan to collect cans, bottles, and other recyclables to redeem into funds to Throw Away Breast Cancer for good!
Kylie and Nadia noticed that their local animal shelters were constantly posting ads that stressed a need for bedding. Youth participating in Animal Blankets plan to leave large bins all over their school and community and make posters that ask for blanket donations. The blankets will be brought to a number of animal shelters throughout Ayer and Shirley, giving the animals-in-need a comfortable environment until they are adopted into their forever homes.
Animal People noticed that the Fitchburg Animal Shelter was severely lacking in cleaning supplies, proper bedding, food and housing for the high number of dogs that are surrendered to the facility each year. To help the shelter, these students aim to raise money through school supplies sales (pencils, pens, erasers, and more) and will donate their proceeds to provide all of these necessities to a canine in need.
Brown Bag Friday
Brown Bag Friday was inspired by another Venture team in Leominster that served elementary school students bagged lunches on the weekend, so the team decided to create a bagged lunch project of their own. The team plans to keep the identity of their recipients anonymous if possible while still being able to provide meals to students whose families are struggling with providing adequate food for the weekend. They plan to sell bracelets to fundraise and seek sponsorship from local food banks and grocers. Eventually, the team would like to expand their efforts to not just bagged lunches, but also backpacks, school supplies and clothing.
Cancer Helping Hands
Noelle and Collin both know family and friends that have been affected in some way by cancer. In light of these experiences, they created Cancer Helping Hands so they may make a difference to fellow community members whose families and friends have either become a victim or a survivor of the disease. The team would like to raise awareness of all types of cancer, and raise money toward a number of cancer research organizations.
Green Recycling Team
Members of Green Recycling recognize that being green isn’t always easy. To make cleaner living more accessible to fellow students, the team would first like to further their school’s recycling initiatives by purchasing large recycling bins. Furthermore, they would also like to extend their green services toward cleaning up local parks and roads, and eventually initiate a large highway cleanup initiative.
After a student’s mother witnessed a patient die in a hospital from a chest injury due to having no access to defibrillators at the time of the injury, Heart Strong decided their community needs better access to these life-saving devices. Through bake sales, car washes, and other school-related fundraising activities, the team would like to raise money to purchase defibrillators for all the local schools and sporting areas. In addition to this, they hope to hold classes that teach people how to use the defibrillators so they may save lives in the future.
Live to Help
Brianna and Noelle were particularly touched after watching a film in social studies class about African citizens being held in refugee war camps. Putting their crafting skills to good use, Live To Help will be making upcycled bags out of old denim and other materials and sell them, with proceeds going toward these African refugee camps.
Pretee noticed that at her school there were a number of plants in the library and classrooms that were not getting watered as frequently as they should. Taking it upon herself to beautify her space, she decided to start a plant-watering project with proper watering cans to ensure each plant is healthy and thriving. In addition to watering, Pretee hopes to raise money to add more plants, shrubs and flowers to the school as a long-term beautifying project.
Tired of the “conventional” duct tape creations? Quacker Arts has taken duct tape to a whole new level! Zebra print, hounds-tooth, camouflage and glow-in-the-dark – there are no limits to the colors and designs this team comes up with on a daily basis. Quacker Arts makes wallets, bracelets, and other neon knick-knacks and sells them at school functions and during lunch, with proceeds going towards purchasing cows for families in Africa.
As a radio control car enthusiast, Austin wanted to use his passion to help his fellow students in a new and innovative way. Austin came up with the idea to create an RC car club, initially aimed specifically for students with autism. By using RC cars, Austin knew from his own personal experience that it helped him improve his fine motor skills and also gain a better appreciation for the intricate workings of the vehicle. With this newly-found knowledge, Austin presented his idea to his class and cannot wait to use RC vehicles to promote turn-taking, sharing and fine motor skills. Austin’s club has piqued the interest of a local hobby shop, whose owners gladly plan to let the group use their RC vehicle race tracks, as well as provide free car rentals, discounts on parts, and more.
Save the Sea
After researching animals native to the Massachusetts Maritimes, members of Save the Sea felt it their duty to protect these special oceanic creatures. Through various types of school fundraisers, Save the Sea would like to raise money and give their proceeds to marine life conservation areas, specifically the National Marine Life Center, located in Bourne, MA. In addition to fundraising, Save the Sea plans to raise awareness of the effects of littering and pollution on marine life, and how every resident of Massachusetts can do their part to keep endangered marine wildlife from becoming extinct.
Sterling Animal Shelter has been an invaluable resource for central Massachusetts residents; whether surrendering or adopting, visitors of the shelter know they can depend on the facility to take care of an animal in need. Shelter helpers learned that the Sterling Shelter was in need of any help they could get – from food donations to building extra kennels, they could use it all! In light of this information, Shelter Helpers is on its way toward raising money through a number of fundraisers so that they may assist this animal lover’s hub with getting all of their necessities.
William noted that the last time he visited a hospital, he felt uneasy and homesick. With this mindset, he decided he wanted to create a team that could help other children feel more at home and comfortable in a hospital setting. To do this, Stuffed Pals will donate teddy bears to children’s wards at local hospitals for patients who may need that extra touch of tenderness. In addition to donating bears, William plans to sell other stuffed animals, with the proceeds going towards local hospitals.
The Castaways identified bullying as a problem across every clique and social circle in their school. Rather than remain silent, these three students have chosen to stand up to bullying and would like to adopt the anti-bullying techniques of Rachel’s Challenge, a Venture team launched at Leominster High School. In order to do this, they plan to provide workshops and presentations to educate their school not just about what bullying is, but how it directly affects their friends and what every member of their school can do to put an end to it.
Three-D Game Design
Andrew and Michael wanted to join an after-school club, but realized that there were not a lot of options beyond the usual sports. As two technology junkies, they choose to create their own club that would allow fellow computer and video game fans to have a place to go after school. In 3D Game Design, members have the ability to not just play video games, but create their own! With the help of Andrew and Michael, those involved will learn the step-by-step process of making a video game from scratch and, at the end of their second session, will be able to take their game and play it at home. Jesse Johnson, video game developer for the widely-acclaimed BioShock, served on 3D Game Design’s panel and was so inspired by their idea, he insisted on donating a second computer to their club to help further their success.
Yard Sale for Leukemia Research
The team members of Yard Sale for Leukemia Research have taken the concept of “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” to a whole new level! After one of the member’s nephew passed away from leukemia, she decided to host a yard sale, with all proceeds going toward leukemia research. By donating unwanted items to the sale and purchasing new-found treasures, community members will help the team with making a difference in patients’ lives in the future.
Blue Crew 2
The Venture Team Blue Crew 2 wants to “Light the World Up Blue” and raise awareness for children with Autism. By selling blue light bulbs, doing an annual raffle to a Blue Man Group show, and doing other blue related fundraisers, this team hopes to raise funds to donate to the HMEA organization whose mission is to promote the values, dreams and potential of people with developmental disabilities through education, support and life experiences.
Helping prepare for the digital future, The Coding Club plans to have an after school program which allows kids to learn basic computer coding and programming skills. Using their own expertise in technology, these students will teach both students and adults alike understand what goes into processing our day to day technology today. By teaching about coding, this team will help students learn how to find solutions for problems, build confidence to tackle future problems, teach creativity, and gain valuable skills that they can apply in any future career.
Cure for Crohn’s
With several family members and friends who have been affected by this disease, the members of Cure for Crohn’s wanted to make a difference and show their love for them by starting a Venture. The team is planning on hosting an annual “Color Run” to help spread awareness and communicate the need to help such a debilitating disease. They plan to donate all their proceeds to Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) who mission is to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.
After hearing stories about foster kids moving from home to home with all of their belongings stuffed into a single garbage bag, the Venturers of Helping Hands knew they had to do something to help. Their Venture, Helping Hands, has taken on the mission of working to ensure that these foster youth not only get real travel bags, but also some extra toys and games to help them get through the tough periods in life.
Hospital Magicians want to bring the joy of magic to sick children in hospitals. They hope to bring laughter and wonder to kids who are vulnerable and scared and may be undergoing medical treatment. Giving them a magical experience will take their minds off their fears and – most important – help them feel empowered.
Living With The Ribbon
The members of Living with the Ribbon realize how financially difficult it can be for family members of cancer patients, having seen their own families go through the struggle. They hope to make life a little easier by donating gift cards and money to families in their community who are struggling in their day to day life.
Using their passion to bring new life to used clothes, the girls from M & M’s Up-cycling plan on optimizing their skills to help the less fortunate living in North Central Massachusetts. Through donations of used clothes, they will “up-cycle” these items to make them look stylish and new and donate the clothes to various programs that help the underprivileged including Loaves and Fishes in Devens.
Special Needs Awareness
Motivated by a team member’s experience with a sibling with special needs, the members of the Venture Team, Special Needs Awareness, want to make sure that they can help as many kids with special needs as possible. They decided to support their mission by raising funds for the Paul Center, a camp out of Chelmsford which hosts camps and educational workshops for those with special needs and their families. The girls plan on raising money to help purchase items that are on The Paul Center’s wish list which will greatly benefit the experience of those who need the camp for support.
Special Olympics/Best Buddies
Inspired by their own family members with mental and physical illnesses, the members of the Special Olympics Best Buddies Venture Team felt compelled to start their own venture to help fellow students with these disabilities in their own school. They decided to support these students at ASRMS by raising awareness and getting volunteers from the student body to support programs like the Special Olympics and the Best Buddies program.
Each of the members of Talent Trackers are involved in different arts programs at their school. After seeing that their individual programs were in desperate need of support, they decided to join together and use their love for the arts to host an annual video contest to raise money to support each of these different programs.
Inspired by the work that the Relay for Life does each year, the Venture Team M&M decided to expand their Relay Team into the school. They plan on helping the American Cancer Society by not only walking in the Relay for Life in Gardner but by also selling homemade bracelets at this event, hosting a “Pink Out” dance and selling a “Pink” raffle basket at their school.
The Next Dimension
The Next Dimension would like to take their STEM department to the next level by purchasing a 3D printer. They believe that having a 3D printer will provide them with hands-on learning and will give them the skills and knowledge to use in real-world applications. The use for this printer is endless and will give them the opportunity to improve the competitiveness in their science and technology department.
The Wish Venture
Inspired by the many great stories of the “Make A Wish Foundation”, the girls of The Wish Venture wanted to get involved in a way that was unique to them. Realizing that their personal artistic talents in making jewelry and artistic portraits could be beneficial to this cause, the Team decided to sell their artwork within the community to raise funds for the “Make A Wish Foundation”. It is their hope that their work will be able to eventually raise enough to support one of the wishes of these kids solely through their own efforts.
Socks for Life
Inspired by their fellow classmate who has Down Syndrome, the girls of Socks for Life have decided to take action to raise money and awareness in the community for this disease. The Socks for Life Venture has decided to support this great cause by fundraising for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society, two nonprofits which work to advocate for those with Down Syndrome and provide resources for their advocates. The team will be raising money through the sale of rainbow colored socks and an annual spring egg hunt at Ayer Shirley Middle School.
Robotics and Programming Club
The students of the Robotics and Programming Club at Ayer Shirley Middle School realized that their passion for computers gave them a skill set that they could use to help their classmates and the community. These students have created an after school computer club in which they educate their peers not only on how a computer operates and how to build their very own computer, but also helps them learn various programming skills such as HTML and Java. They will also be looking to expand their program to create an education program for the adults in the community who do not have any of the skills which these students now learn in school.
Sew Much Hope
After one of their brothers was saved by the doctors and staff at Boston Children’s Hospital, the girls of Sew Much Hope decided they wanted to create a Venture which gives back to BCH and help many other families like their own. By using their passion and skills in sewing, these students are creating and selling sewn together accessories for their peer’s school supplies as well as working with local restaurants to raise money for the hospital. They hope that their fundraising efforts will not only help save more children’s lives, but that they will additionally raise awareness to the many diseases which are afflicting children today.
A Shoe For You
When one of their cousins came back from doing service work in Nicaragua, the girls of A Shoe For You learned that many of the families in Nicaragua cannot afford to pay for basic necessities including the clothing and shoes needed for kids to be able to go to school. Feeling that they needed to do something to help these children, the girls created this Venture Team to run regular clothing fundraisers to send to families in need and have already raised over two carloads of donations.
Lungs for Life
The siblings of previous Venturers, the members of Lungs for Life wanted to follow in their footsteps by creating their own Venture. By combining their passion for soccer with their personal connection to Lung Cancer affecting their loved ones, these students created Lungs for Life, a school soccer tournament to raise money for lung cancer research. Their tournament raised over $150 dollars, assisting many students at ASRMS to develop a better understanding of this issue while helping put an end to lung cancer once and for all.
St. Jude’s Heroes
Inspired by the many stories of children affected by cancer, the girls of St. Jude’s Heroes decided it was time to do take a stand to try and put an end to this issue. As each of these Venturers have family members who have been affected by cancer, this is a cause that is close to their hearts. Together, these Venturers will be holding fundraisers and school-wide events to help not only raise money for this cause, but make sure this issue was an important one for all ASRMS students.
As lifelong fans of anime, cartooning, and video games, the students of this Venture know that there are many students who don’t realize that the skills involved in these passions can be crucial to many future careers. Together, the boys of Pokeminer Industries have started their own graphic arts club at ASRMS where they can not only share their passion with others of the same mindset, but help teach their peers the skills it takes to become skilled in graphic arts. They hope to inspire others and give them an avenue to share their passions so that all of their peers may discover a similar passion.
Improving Grades and Fun (IGAF)
Hoping to motivate their peers to achieve more in the classroom, the students of Improving Grades and Fun have decided to create a new avenue of inspiration. Working with the school administration, these students want to create a greater celebration for honor roll and principal’s list recipients by providing them rewards beyond a simple certificate including a field day. It is their hope that with these extra incentives, more students will work harder in class thus improving their own lives, the lives of their teachers, and the standing of the whole school.
Page By Page
As constant visitors to the Shirley Public Library, the girls of Page by Page knew how important the library was to not just their own lives, but to the lives of the entire community. Seeing the impact the library has made, these girls have decided to help by bringing together the ASRMS community to make the library even better by collecting new books. They have decided to host regular book drives at the school so that the library can offer every resource possible to the community. If you have any new or gently used books, bring them on by!
Lend A Paw
The girls of Lend A Paw were saddened to see the struggles that local animals go through as they sit and wait in the local shelters for their forever homes. To help these animals, this Team has focused their efforts to help raise money for the Volunteer Humane Society Cat Shelter in Lancaster, MA to get the cats food, blankets, and needed medicine. If you would like to help these girls efforts, make sure to buy some of the glow in the dark key chains or organic pet treats they will be selling around Ayer and Shirley!
Sea Turtle Savers
Inspired by their time at the Fall Kick-Off and the words of Kyrah Altman telling them to make a difference, the girls of the Sea Turtle Savers decided it was time for them to take a stand. With their love of marine life, the girls have taken it upon themselves to find new and fun ways to support injured and lost turtles return to their environments and help to clean up polluted environments which are causing harm to the lives of turtles. They hope to engage their school and community to be more aware of how our daily actions impact the lives of turtles and take action to support their team’s efforts.
Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster
Do you have dreams of becoming the next NBA super star? Watch out Lebron! Hoop Dreams Youth Venture can help to make your dream come true! A group of Venturers from the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts are planning to host 3-on-3 adult basketball tournaments throughout the year for the city of Fitchburg and Leominster, donating much of their proceeds to local non-profit organizations.
Leominster Park Savers
A group of young people at the Boys and Girls Club have a dream—to restore their local parks, keeping them clean and safe for their community. Leominster Park Savers United Way Youth Venture Team plans to make this dream a reality. This dynamic group of Venturers want to clean and revamp local parks in their Leominster community, including Carter Park, Barrett Park, Fournier Field, and Johnson St. Playground.
Teen Center Track
Teen Center Track Team was launched in March 2012 by Angela and Clever in order to share their passion for running, to teach their peers valuable leadership and team-building skills, and to encourage youth to be fit to help fight adolescent obesity. In 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, and from 1980 to 2008, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese, increased from 5% to 18% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Teen Center Track Team plans to address adolescent obesity by recruiting over 20 participants from their Boys and Girls Club, educating their track team the importance of staying healthy and fit by eating right and exercising, holding track team practice 1-2 times a week, and attending 2-3 track meets per year. Venturers will host an annual car wash in the spring to fundraise and promote their Venture and have requested and confirmed donations from their Keystone Club (Teen Centers’ Leadership Group) and the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center Café. Both of these clubs have agreed to raise funds to support our Teen Center Track Team every year. This Venture will appoint new leaders every year by voting members to leadership positions based the members’ commitment and desire for the position.
The BGC Bakerz plan to have bake sales at the Boys and Girls Club every month, donating most of the profits (50-80%) to a different charity every year.
Café Cash is a bistro at the Boys & Girls Club, with the goal to provide healthy snacks to members of the Boys & Girls Club. All proceeds directly benefit the Club, and they plan on sponsoring the Robotics Team as well as taking on a variety of community service activities.
Chester Mossman Teen Center
Team Rainbow Sprinkles
Lead Venturer, Keira Tiffany, loves to bake everything from chocolate chip cookies to tiramisu. Team Rainbow Sprinkles was founded after Keira learned that she could bake all of her favorite goodies AND help her community. After recruiting fellow team members from the Chester Mossman Teen Center, who love to bake as much as herself, Team Rainbow Sprinkles decided that they would hold regular bake sales, donating at least 75-80% of their proceeds to Ginny’s Helping Hands.
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center
Kids Gone Green
Disgusted by the look of their community, this Venture will raise awareness about the importance of recycling to the residents of Fitchburg. In late July of 2010, the young people held a block party to kick off their Venture and engage their community. At the event, the youth distributed recycling bins and stickers to help facilitate the recycling process along with pamphlets and fliers informing why and how to recycle. They also collected all cans and bottles from the event showing attendees which types can be recycled.
Eco Friendly Redesign
This team is making Goodrich Academy more eco-friendly. They noticed their school could have less air and waste pollution, and have started making a positive change by installing water filters at the school. They also educate fellow students on how their decisions and actions affect the environment. This team hosts great fundraisers like an ice cream social, and a night of fun while raising awareness at Applebee’s.
This group of students turned a love for reptiles into a Venture Team whose mission is to educate the public about reptiles and the care they need. They are changing what they perceive as public opinion that reptiles are “slimy and small”. And they are sharing their vast knowledge of reptiles so that people in their community aren’t purchasing reptiles without knowing how to adequately care for them.
House of Peace and Education (HOPE)
Project Helping Educate Little People (Project H.E.L.P.)
Youth have decided to help the special needs program at the Elm Street School. The young people, two 7th grade students (home-schooled) and one 8th grade (Gardner Middle School), have experience with the special needs programs either personally or through family members. Using a known contact at the school, the students plan to work with 3rd graders in the program. They will provide academic tutoring as well as games to further social interaction amongst the youth. The group hopes to meet with a current tutoring Venture to troubleshoot and find out ways to improve their Ventures and get to know them better.
Members of Double Pawz have a strong desire to help our furry friends. This United Way Youth Venture team would like to support local animal shelters by holding annual fundraisers, including a car wash/dog wash and a semi-formal middle school dance, donating 50-75% of their proceeds to a local animal shelter. Double Pawz recognizes the problems that their local animal shelters face, such as large debt due to costly veterinarian bills and overpopulation.
Lura A. White Elementary School
Fifth-grade students from Lura A. White Elementary love music and particularly enjoy the sweet sounds of acoustic guitar. Moreover, after learning of the United Way Youth Venture program, they have sought to expand their music program, purchasing guitars for fifth-grade students at Lura A. Elementary. Their vision is to ensure that every fifth-grade student at their elementary school has the opportunity to play an instrument. Venturers from the Guitar Project want to be able to organize performances for parents, students, and members of their community.
Memorial Middle School
ESP – Eco-School Project
The goal of the ESP program is to bring recycling into the Memorial Middle School so they can become an eco-friendly community, with the ultimate goal of students carrying this habit into their homes.
PATH – Peer Academic Tutoring Help
Peer tutoring program that helps children with both homework and school work and serves as a mentoring program.
MAAC (Memorial Arts and Ceramics) Misfits
The M.A.A.C. Misfits want to make ceramics a more accessible part of their middle school art curriculum. This Venture team discovered that there is not sufficient funding for their art teacher to purchase clay for any ceramic art classes during the day and as a result, they must pay to participate in an after-school program. Unfortunately, most students are unaware that this is available or they cannot join because of the cost, among other inconveniences. The M.A.A.C. Misfits would like to change this—allowing Memorial students to use clay as part of the art curriculum as well as helping improve their art program at the middle school, overall. Ultimately, this Venture team plans to sell various art that they construct themselves, including painted chairs, ceramics, and jewelry to be able to purchase wheels for their art classes.
Crocker Field United
This Venture would like to raise awareness and funds in order to sustain Crocker Field in Fitchburg.
Care 4 Children is a venture team at Memorial Middle School. Members of this Venture remember being in daycare and not having supplies to do activities. The ladies of this Venture took it upon themselves to raise funds to buy supplies for a local Fitchburg daycare center.
North Middlesex Regional High School
2006 – 2007
Working together with the Life Skills program at the school, as well as the Best Buddies program, these students renovate and improve a courtyard for all to enjoy. They plant flowers, vegetables, and herbs to sell in their Coffee Stop restaurant and to help fund future renovations.
2007 – 2008
This group of high school students helps raise awareness of teen dating violence through art displays. They create and paint large, mobile murals for display to help educate local youth on dating violence prevention.
2011 – 2012
Members of this Venture plan to create a literary journal that will include pieces of writing from a variety of genres to showcase creativity, talent, and potential from NM students.
The Outdoor Classroom
After traveling on a service trip to New Orleans, North Middlesex Regional High School junior Elisabeth was inspired by the Aquaponics program at Blair Grocery. As part of the program, students learned 80% of their Advanced Placement Biology coursework without opening a textbook! Elisabeth and her fellow Venturers, Therese, Sam, Casey, and Marissa, started The Outdoor Classroom Venture Team. The Team hopes to help their communities and bring an experiential learning opportunity to their school’s community garden, by combining Aquaponics and Vermicompost methods. Through further grant applications, fundraisers like “Taste the Rainbow” where participants receive a fruit or vegetable of every color and donating produce to the Pepperell Aid Community Home, these Venturers have set a goal to donate a ton – literally 2,000 pounds- of produce over the next ten years.
2012 – 2013
MLK Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the MLK holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. Young people at North Middlesex Regional High School decided to answer this call to action by hosting the first MLK Day of Service in their district. Venture members recruited over 120 volunteers to help with services ranging from making soap to writing letters to those serving in Afghanistan. Because its first year was so successful, the MLK Day of Service Venture plans to continue hosting a series of volunteer opportunities during each forthcoming Martin Luther King holiday.
On a trip to New Orleans, members of Satellite Garden witnessed a local community’s effective and cost-efficient composting system and decided to create one of their own for their school’s already-existing community garden. In addition to the food available through the Community Garden, the Satellite Garden Team plans to grow organic flowers and micro greens to sell at local farmer’s markets as means to sustain their project.
Students at North Middlesex Regional High School noticed that one of the most underutilized facilities in most communities is the school kitchen and cafeteria. With this in mind, they decided to start Second Helpings, a soup kitchen available to any community member in need of a hot meal. Once a month, the team plans to host a soup kitchen with food gathered from their school’s community garden and plan to partner with local businesses in the future.
2012 – 2013
The Bright Lights Project
Following a service trip down to New Orleans, the students of the Bright Lights Project were inspired by Green Lights New Orleans, a group that puts energy-efficient light bulbs into homes in need. These Venturers decided to enact a similar program right here in North Central Massachusetts, teaming up with Unitil and MassSaves with the goal of raising awareness and increasing the number of homes with energy-efficient lights.
WHEAT Community Cafe
After years of volunteering at the WHEAT Community Cafe, a soup kitchen for the hungry, the Venturers knew something had to be done when Wheat’s unreliable stove would take an hour and a half just to boil a pot of water. To solve this issue they came up with the idea to create a community-wide cook-off to help fundraise for a new industrial-grade stove to help both the Wheat volunteers and the hungry they serve!
Habitat at North Middlesex
Inspired by the mission of Habitat for Humanity, the leaders of Habitat at North Middlesex have made it their goal to do whatever they can to help the local Habitat chapter. From directly volunteering at Habitat build sites and ReStore, to running donation drives to help the families, these Venturers are excited to help make their community better one house at a time.
Days For Girls
After learning in class about the many issues that girls in Africa face on a daily basis, the Venturers of Days for Girls decided they wanted to do whatever they could to make a difference. During their research, they found out about the non-profit, Days For Girls, a group that provides sustainable feminine hygiene and health solutions. This group will be running sewing classes and fundraisers to purchase the materials and make the kits that will be shared internationally to help girls around the world gain a sense of dignity and self-esteem.
Overlook Middle School
Kid Connections is a Venture Team with a compassionate mission to create resource baskets for canine graduates of the NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) training program. The baskets, filled with NEADS-approved toys, collars, and otherwise useful resources, are intended to help both dog and placement family acclimate to their new lives together.
The three boys on the Homeless Helpers team have big hearts and felt drawn to helping homeless people in the city. They researched many different statistics on the homeless population in Boston that was eye-opening for them, as well as the people that listened to their presentation at their community panel. The Team is working with Pine Street Inn in Boston. They make bag lunches for Pine Street Inn to distribute to the folks they serve at the Inn.
Sizer School, A North Central Charter Essential School
2011 – 2012
Deryn Susman, who attends Sizer School, a North Central Charter Essential School in Fitchburg, started the United Way Youth Venture Team, Sizer Cubbies, after she learned of a mother and children who were forced to flee from their home, leaving all of their prized possessions behind. Deryn and her Venture Team were inspired to help traumatized families like these, providing them with free teddy bears, and holding an annual fundraiser to bring awareness and support to the important cause.
2012 – 2013
Toni and Roman from North Central Charter School teamed up to ‘Kinnect’ with the elderly in Massachusetts! Wii Kinnect Venture Team plans to visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help teach residents how to use the Wii and Kinnect gaming systems, providing the chance to bridge the intergenerational gap between young people and older populations, get exercise, and have fun! Venturers intend to host Wii tournaments at their school and in the community as a way to encourage participants to be involved in their Venture, and also help fund the expansion of their systems. With Toni’s organizational skills and Roman’s contacts from working and volunteering in nursing homes, this dynamic duo is sure to make ‘kinnections’ everywhere they go!
2013 – 2014
Clean Up Humanity
With the initial desire to help solve every problem in the world, the Venturers of Clean Up Humanity have worked hard to narrow their ambitious ideas into achievable SMART goals, ultimately deciding to raise awareness to help end the issue of domestic abuse right here in the area. Along with awareness campaigns, Clean Up Humanity will be fundraising for the YWCA to aid in their support of women and children who are looking for assistance from abusive homes and relationships.
2014 – 2015
The Green Team
The Green Team is a passionate group of students from Sizer that have taken environmental awareness to the next level. They coach their fellow classmates on how to eliminate waste, identify recyclables, and explain how composting will benefit the Sizer community. Their enthusiasm and excitement for this cause guarantees that Sizer will be a shining light in student engagement in the environment for years to come.