Remember the last day of ALA VGS when you were asked, “Are you willing to invest what you’ve gained here?” This is a great opportunity to answer that question with action!
We are asking YOU to join us in celebrating the 74th session of ALA VGS by participating in the fifth annual ALA VGS Week of Service. We are designating the week of November 7-14, 2020 (which includes Veterans Day) as a time to commit to giving back to veterans and your communities.
While hands-on service projects may be challenging this year, we may still give back to our communities. For 2020, we are asking that all friends and alumnae of ALA VGS unite in a coordinated service project that will allow us to amplify our impact. Please join us in honoring our Tennessee veterans by writing a card or letter of appreciation. We will collect these cards and distribute them through the American Legion Auxiliary to the various Veteran Administration hospitals across Tennessee. With your help, we hope to deliver at least 1000 notes!
Your cards may be addressed, “Dear Veteran…” and may be as simple or creative as you’d like. And once you write one note, you may use the same message on multiple cards. Please note that you were an ALA VGS delegate in your card or signature. And feel free to enlist friends and family to help reach our goal. Ask your classmates, teammates, youth group, or local elementary school classes to join you!
You do not need to put a return address or stamp on the cards, but please bundle them inside a larger envelope. Please send all complete notes by November 14 to:
4984 Greenway Avenue
Memphis, TN 38117
We would love to see pictures of you with the cards you write or collect! Please share on social media and use #ALAVGSWeekofService, or if you have a private account, email photos to email@example.com.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to support the ALA’s work with patients at Tennessee VA hospitals, go to our Support page and click on “Donate Now.” You may list Week of Service under the donation dedication. This money will assist the ALA in providing food, clothing, and personal hygiene items to veterans receiving services at the hospitals.
While we are focusing on this coordinated effort, we would still love to hear about any others ways you serve your community during the week! During past Weeks of Service, Girls Staters have cleaned up parks, given blood, collected food for food pantries, and made donations to local VA hospitals. We’ve provided suggestions for other service projects below. Please be safe and follow Covid-19 protocol if you choose to volunteer in person.
We’re providing some suggestions for service projects through the link below. Feel free, however, to find other ways to volunteer your time and talents and to encourage others to join you. Over the last two years, ALA VGS citizens, counselors, and staff members have volunteered for the ALA and other veterans’ and community service organizations, donated blood, packed and shipped care packages to soldiers, cleaned up a local park, and delivered treats to veterans and election site workers.
Please take this Week of Service to let your actions be a form of repayment to those who invested in your ALA VGS experience.
So, how will you invest… in your school, your community, our nation, and our world?
Supporting Veterans and Active Duty Troops
If you are eligible, become a member or junior member of the American Legion Auxiliary. Go to www.alaforveterans.org for information on joining. You may also contact Julia Wells to join the ALA Unit in Bells that is so actively involved in Girls State. She will be glad to help you process your membership form. You may reach her via email.
Operation Gratitude has a variety of donation needs: www.operationgratitude.com
- Collect Beanie Babies (Troops hand them out to local children while on patrol abroad.)
- Have a collection drive for care packages to be sent to troops (see website for wish list of items)
- Knit a hat or scarf to send to a soldier
- Collect extra Halloween candy to be sent to troops
- (Remember that you will be responsible for the shipping cost of sending these items.)
Help the USO send 2 Million messages of support to troops through their Campaign to Connect: www.uso.org/message/thanks-a-million
Write letters through Savannah’s Soldiers: savannahssoldiers.com/write
(Start a letter writing campaign at your school, with teammates, among your youth group, etc. and challenge each member to write at least one letter.)
Collect and donate items to Operation Stand Down Tennessee – Nashville & Clarksville: http://osdtn.org/donate-items/
Collect items to donate to Alpha Omega Veteran’s Services in Memphis: https://www.alphaomegaveterans.org/get-involved
Contact your local American Legion Post or ALA unit and see if they collect items for the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program that was created to provide “nonessentials,” or items that help wounded warriors’ recovery.
Ask a family member who is a veteran to share with you about their time of service and thank them for their service. You may want to record this to share with others.
Organize a time for a veteran from your community to talk to your school, club, or church group about their military service. This could happen virtually!
Place flags by veterans’ graves
Helping Your Community
Rake leaves or offer to do other household chores for elderly neighbors, family with small children, or a military family in your neighborhood.
Clean up a local park or school playground.
Make cards or holiday decorations for residents of local nursing homes.
*American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State is not affiliated with any of the veteran’s organizations listed above, except the American Legion Auxiliary.