A Decade of Doing Good: Mission Ignition 2023 Student Volunteer Challenge

Students from five area high schools gave back in a big way this March as they competed to complete the most service hours during United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Mission Ignition 2023 volunteer challenge. 

Mission Ignition is a student-run service initiative designed to encourage local teens to volunteer while inspiring them to develop lifelong philanthropic lifestyles. This year’s theme was “A Decade of Doing Good” in celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary. 

Each Saturday of the competition, students from The Willow School, Benjamin Franklin High School, Haynes Academy, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, and Riverdale High School came together to complete cleaning, painting, and revitalization projects. Locations for this year’s group projects, called missions, included Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Port Sisters Urban Community Garden, and The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Students could also complete additional volunteer hours outside of these events.  

United, participants spent over 1,100 hours serving our community! 

The school with the most volunteer hours at the end of the competition receives a trophy, bragging rights, and pizza. Congratulations to the Mission Ignition 2023 winners:  

  • 1st Place: Haynes Academy
  • 2nd Place: The Willow School 
  • 3rd Place: Ben Franklin High School 

This year’s participants inspired me with their eagerness to step up and help build a stronger community for everyone. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years hold for Mission Ignition. 


Katelyn McGruder 
Resource Development Associate
United Way of Southeast Louisiana