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Ben Franklin takes top spot in 2019 Mission Ignition volunteer challenge

8 area high schools responsible for $67k in community impact through volunteerism

NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana named Benjamin Franklin High School on Thursday as the winner of the 2019 Mission Ignition competition, which pits area high schools against each other in a race to collect the most volunteer hours.

Ben Franklin secured the top spot in a runaway with 1,097 hours. Thomas Jefferson and Lusher Charter high schools finished in second and third place with 646 and 276 hours, respectively.

“Mission Ignition allowed me to discover my passion for service and being a part of the board helped me ignite that passion in others,” said Brianna Claverie, a Ben Franklin senior and Mission Ignition board member. “Winning the competition was the perfect way to end my last year on the board.”

Mission Ignition began in 2013 as a student-led volunteer challenge between Lusher Charter and Ben Franklin guided by UWSELA staff. The concept is simple: schools compete to complete the most service hours during one month through volunteer missions.

The 2019 competition’s eight schools and their 1,928 participating students completed 2,944 volunteer hours valued at more than $67,400 in community impact. This year’s missions included three weekends of beautification projects at Terrytown Gretna Head Start Center, ArcGNO, Joe W. Brown Park and Lafitte Greenway.

A student-led board, consisting of 30-40 students representing competing schools, drives all aspects of the initiative, including competition logistics, fundraising, mission promotion and social media management.

UWSELA helps to enhance and cultivate leadership skills in the students over the course of each board cycle. At the completion of their term, Mission Ignition board members will have developed an ability to: work collaboratively with peers from across the community, envision goals and create and implement strategies for accomplishing those goals, recruit new volunteers, and secure resources for philanthropic programming.

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching Mission Ignition inject a real sense of community into the thousands of students who have participated over the years,” said Melody Reed, UWSELA Resource Development director and Mission Ignition staff lead. “They often enter the challenge for the sake of competition and leave with a deep respect for the power of volunteerism and a lifelong desire to serve.”

Since its inception in 2013, Mission Ignition has grown from a handful of classmates to thousands of engaged young people responsible for over $500,000 in impact through 20,000 hours of community service. Mission Ignition schools include currently: Lusher Charter School, Benjamin Franklin High School, Haynes Academy, Thomas Jefferson High School, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, Isidore Newman School, East Jefferson High School and Riverdale High School.

For more information on Mission Ignition, please contact Melody Reed at 504-827-6846 or Haley Mack at 504-827-6817.

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About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For more than 90 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.

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