JSA Now! Newsletter
Junior Statesmen Foundation Donate Now!
Volume II, Number 3 - March 19, 2010

Preparing Students for Leadership in a Democratic Society

Upcoming Events

Spring State

Tucson, AZ
March 27-28

Stamford, CT
April 10-11

Los Angeles, CA
April 16-18

Columbus, OH
Oakbrook, IL
April 17-18

Santa Clara, CA
April 23-25

Redmond, WA
Princeton, NJ
Houston, TX
Orlando, FL
April 24-25

Dave Viotti

Scholarship Appeal and Recognition of Jeff Harris

DAVE VIOTTI:  Applications for JSA Summer School are flooding in, but many students are struggling to raise enough funds to get there in this tough economy.  We have at least 200 students who need $1,000 or more to make it to JSA Summer School and they need your help!  In this issue, we introduce you to a few of our student leaders hoping to make it to JSA Summer School and share examples of how JSA alumni and friends are helping to get them there.  For our LA friends, we look forward to seeing you in April for our 75th Anniversary celebration at our Southern California Spring State Convention.  We'll also be honoring Jeff Harris, who's served JSA for over 20 years (event details below and here).  Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you for the positive impact you've had on thousands of JSA students. If you want to share a story about Jeff, post it on our Facebook page or email Matt Randazzo.

Summer School Students
Donate to these individuals or learn about sponsoring other students by contacting Matt Randazzo at mrandazzo@jsa.org or at 800-317-9338

Summer School Applicants Who Need Your Help

FEATURED STUDENT STORIES: Each year, JSA receives more than 1,000 scholarship applications from students who want to attend JSA Summer School.  We're able to provide scholarship support (based on merit and financial need) because of generous donations from our alumni and friends.  Here are just a few of our students' stories (we've changed their names for privacy and there are many more talented student leaders just like them):

Catherine is an A student in the National Honor Society from Los Angeles and a JSA Chapter member.  She plays field hockey and spent the past few months raising money for Haitian earthquake victims as a service project for her school.  In her scholarship application, Catherine described how she was raised by a single mother who died last year after a long illness. She recalled being a "very young child and walking the streets for hours on end" with her mother who "pushed her infant brother in a stroller" as they searched for a place to sleep. She wrote that the greatest gift her mother gave her was the love of reading and a belief that all of her dreams could be realized with the foundation of a strong education.  Catherine wants to go to our Princeton program and study A.P. U.S. Government (the tuition is $4,500).  We've given her a $750 scholarship and she's raised $1,000 already from family and donors in her community.  She needs another $2,750 in order to be able to attend.

Chris is the only son of a single mother who saved for 13 years so that she could afford to move her and her son from the "gang-banging streets" of their town to a safer city where the schools were better.  Chris now thrives at his high school where he is an honor roll student and active member of his JSA chapter.  He wants to study Speech and Political Communication at our Princeton program.  He has no other family than his mother, who herself grew up in a foster home, and she makes only $10,000 a year as a department store saleswoman.  We've worked with him to raise $2,500.  He needs $2,000 more to attend.

Help students like Catherine and Chris realize their dreams by donating to our scholarship fund.  To learn more about the fund, contact Matt Randazzo at mrandazzo@jsa.org or at 800-317-9338.

Summer School
Garner and Tuohy scholarships help JSA students get to
Summer School 


"JSA Families" Support Summer School Applicants

BY DAVID M. COLE: At alumni events and other JSA gatherings, there’s frequent discussion about the "JSA family," but the concept is usually attached to the notion that people you meet in the program as a young adult turn out to be people you still know many years later.

But the real meaning of the JSA family happens on a daily basis in high schools-- and living rooms-- around the country. This is the story of the generosity of two families in Southern California who do not even know each other and how they have changed the life of a young Los Angeles man forever.

The first family is the Garners of Newport Beach. Craig Garner was a JSA Southern California governor in the 1980s, while his brother Scott was active in the program a few years later. Their father, Gerald, served on the JSA board of trustees (a distinction Scott shares today). After Gerald's passing more than a decade ago, Scott Garner and his mother, Joan, established a Summer School scholarship in Gerald Garner's name. The scholarship is for a full tuition to Stanford for a Southern California student already involved in JSA.

The second family is the Verheidens of Pacific Palisades. Ben Verheiden has been in JSA for three years, is the president of his chapter at Palisades Charter High School and is a senator in the Angeles Region. He also attended Summer School at Stanford last July.

One of Ben's classmates at Palisades Charter High School is Giovanni Douresseau. Gio, as his friends call him, is a junior at Palisades on a scholarship. He wanted to participate in JSA, but confided to Ben that his family couldn't afford for him to attend conventions or Congress. In fact, Gio told Ben, he didn't really have a good enough set of clothes to go to a convention.

Ben told his mother, Sonja, of Gio's plight and instantly the Verheiden family sponsored Gio's costs to attend JSA conventions and Congresses, including buying him clothes.

Ben's love of JSA is deep and became even deeper last summer at Stanford. He knew that Gio should do everything possible to attend a Summer School and when Ben learned of the Gerald Garner scholarship, he strongly urged Gio to apply for the scholarship.

In fact, Gio and Ben cooked up a way to make sure that the JSA staff knew Gio was serious about wanting the scholarship: immediately after the scholarship opportunity was announced, they faxed the scholarship application into the office, e-mailed it and also had a physical copy delivered via the U.S. Mail.

While 21 other deserving JSA'ers also applied for the Gerald Garner Memorial Scholarship, the JSA staff awarded it to Giovanni Douresseau. Fortunately, Gio's grandfather was able to attend Winter Congress where the award was made in February and was able to witness the presentation. Those attending said Gio's grandfather was "overwhelmed" by the emotion of the moment.

"I am certain I am not overstating this," wrote Jeanne Saiza, the teacher-advisor to the Palisades Charter High School JSA chapter, "This summer will change the course of [Gio's] life."

Sonja Verheiden agreed. "Knowing Gio, the change in him has already begun," Verheiden said shortly after the scholarship was awarded. "The validation by JSA that he is considered worthy of this provides him with a positive judgment of his own abilities. Nobody can say that Gio won't be successful. If anyone does, he'll know better than to listen to them."

But wait, as the folks on late-night TV commercials say, there's more: two of the other students who applied for the Gerald Garner Memorial Scholarship have been given half-ride scholarships that will come from the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation of Santa Barbara, a long-time supporter of JSA and Summer School. Paris Vaughn of John Burroughs High School in Burbank and Telma Menendez of Los Angeles County's Lynwood High School each will receive half scholarships and will now receive extensive help from JSA staff to help them fund-raise the other half in order to also attend Stanford Summer School this July.

Donate Now!Help promote democracy

How Can I Help JSA?

Annually, thousands of JSA alumni and friends donate their time, talent, and treasure to support the program. Please contact Matthew Randazzo, Chief Growth Strategy Officer, if you wish to volunteer, reconnect with the program, or make a gift to JSA. mrandazzo@jsa.org or 800.317.9338. Read More

Territory Students
 "For many students on the
 mainland and in the
 territories, Summer School
 is a game-changing opportunity that will
impact their life trajectory."

JSA Celebrates 20 Years of Excellence in the U.S. Territories

BY MATTHEW RANDAZZO: Marking the 20th anniversary of JSA’s partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior to recruit and enroll outstanding young leaders from the territories and trust areas to JSA Summer Schools, the department this year has added the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the program. This generous grant provides full scholarships and travel to four students each from the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and now the Marshall Islands. While the grant covers a total of 28 students, the momentum of those kids brings Summer School to more than 100 students annually from the territories and trust areas. Since its inception, this partnership has educated more than 1700 students.

Program Director Elliott Nguyen and I recently traveled to Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and Micronesia to recruit an outstanding class of scholars for the 2010 Summer School and to reach out.

Congressional Delegate Gregorio "Kilili" Sablan hosted us at his district office and worked tirelessly to help raise additional support. The Northern Marianas legislature pledged $50,000 in scholarships and Dr. Rita Sablan, commissioner of education, will fully fund two additional students ($14,000 with travel). Lt. Gov. Eloy Inos, whose three daughters attended JSA Summer School, also pledged his support of the program and noted its significance in the Northern Mariana Islands. In Guam, the Department of Labor pledged 10 full scholarships for students enrolled in the Upward Bound program, a federally funded education program that prepares high school students for success in college and career.

One of those Upward Bound students has a touching personal story. Originally from Yap (part of Micronesia), this young man left his family's home to live in Guam so he could attend a high school that would prepare him for college and his career. He enrolled his sophomore year and immediately sought out the Upward Bound program. This young man is wonderfully committed to his studies and is laser focused on college. For many students on the mainland and in the territories, Summer School is a game-changing opportunity that will put them on the path to success.

The JSA staff is proud that we train such a diverse cross section of young people to be active citizens and leaders in their communities. Please contact Matthew Randazzo if you have any questions about the U.S. Department of the Interior grant program.

LA Event 
 Join Southern California
JSA Alumni to celebrate
Jeff Harris and JSA's
75th Anniversary

LA JSA Celebrates 75th Anniversary

ALUMNI EVENT: Interested in re-connecting with JSA or reliving your convention days?  Join us as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary and recognize Jeff Harris’ twenty years of service to the organization.  Register online at: https://jsa.wufoo.com/forms/75th-anniversary-brunch/.  The anniversary brunch will be held at the Southern California Spring State convention in Los Angeles on April 18.  The event will include a student-alumni debate moderated by Jeff Harris and the chance to see thousands of JSA students in action during the convention and annual elections.  There's no better way to reconnect with JSA than visiting one of our programs.  Brunch tickets are $50 each, with proceeds to benefit the Junior State of America’s scholarship fund.

JSA Poll

This Month's JSA Poll

YES OR NO: Will Congress pass a health care reform bill this month?

Congress has invested months debating and rewriting a bill that the democrats will try to get passed this month. Do you think it will finally happen?

What do you say? Answer Now

--This month's newsletter by: Dave Viotti, David M. Cole, Jeff Dunn, Alanna Lee, Matthew Randazzo