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Unique Eagle Scout Project Introduced by State College Youth

by on May 15, 2017 5:00 AM

Ethan Bishop, a member of State College Boy Scout Troop 40, has an unconventional Eagle Scout project — an awareness campaign.

Bishop wants every community service organization and potential community volunteer in Centre County to know about the website JustServe.org. His awareness campaign seeks to help solve a problem: Many citizens in the community want to lend a helping hand, but don’t know where to start.

JustServe.org is a nationwide, nonprofit website provided freely by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It helps connect potential community volunteers with humanitarian service projects nearby. Nonprofit service organizations, churches, schools and government offices can use JustServe.org to post volunteer needs, and community members can use it to search for ways to serve given their circumstances and interests.

“I’d love to see every citizen create a JustServe.org account or download the JustServe app, so they’ll be notified as new community service needs arise near them,” Bishop said. “And, if you’re an organization with volunteer needs, you can click the big green Submit a Project button. It’s easy.”

Unlike many Eagle Scout projects that are focused around a single service event, Bishop’s awareness campaign has been a long-term endeavor.

“I could have organized an event like a blood drive or helping at the food pantry. You’ll see many important projects like that posted on JustServe.org,” he said. “My hope is that my awareness campaign will facilitate many such projects.”

A sophomore at State College Area High School High, Bishop started the awareness campaign last fall.

“Over the past several months, I’ve organized mailings to many service organizations and government officials in Centre County. I attended and organized volunteers at community service fairs to demonstrate JustServe.org to service organizations,” he said.

“I also organized a team to get the word out using posters at schools and on social media. I’ve seen an increase in projects posted and volunteer accounts created on JustServe.org, but I’d love to see much more.”

Patrese Huff, who volunteers with Wendell Williams as local JustServe.org representatives, has been supervising Bishop’s project.  

“Ethan has done a great job in leading this effort to inform the community about Just Serve,” said Huff. “We really appreciate those who have worked to let community organizations, as well as volunteers, know about this digital place where they can connect.”  

Bishop’s offer to help get the word out was perfectly timed. Just Serve just arrived in Centre County last fall.

“We hope that as more organizations and volunteers find out about Just Serve, this tool will be used by many in accomplishing great good,” said Huff.

“We live in a wonderfully community-minded place. An army of volunteers quietly works together every day. There’s a unity that comes when we serve together, and lots of people each doing a little bit can make a huge impact. Ethan’s project itself is an example of that.”

Bishop is excited about the project because of the many benefits he sees coming from it.

“Organizations will get volunteers they need, volunteers will have a central place to search for service opportunities, and the community as a whole will benefit as volunteers work side by side, develop mutual respect and understanding and enjoy serving together,” he said.

For more information, visit www.justserve.org.

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