A common phrase used at Volunteer Girls State is “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We are asking YOU to join us in celebrating the 75th session of ALA VGS by participating in the sixth annual ALA VGS Week of Service. We are designating the week of November 6-13, 2021 (which includes Veterans Day) as a time to commit to giving back to veterans and your communities.
While hands-on service projects may still be challenging this year, we can still find ways to spread love and positivity to our neighbors. After our successful Week of Service last year, we will again undertake a coordinated service project to have the greatest impact while still taking precautions due to Covid-19. We are asking you to write and collect letters or cards of appreciation to Tennessee veterans. We will collect these cards and distribute them through the American Legion Auxiliary to the various Veteran Administration hospitals across Tennessee. Our goal is to deliver at least 500 notes across the 4 Tennessee VA hospitals!
Once you write one, you can use the same message on multiple cards. Blank notecards or thank you notes would be appropriate, or get creative and decorate your own patriotic cards. They may be addressed, “Dear Veteran…” 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 notes by November 14 to:
ALA VGS c/o Sally Nickele
4984 Greenway Ave
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take this Week of Service to let your actions be a form of repayment to those who invested in your ALA VGS experience. If you need some inspiration, here’s a great story about how a child’s letter sent to a WWII veteran made a big impact on both of their lives: Letter to a Veteran Story
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.