The Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce and LYFEhouse, Inc. launched their second-year Rethink Service Fellowship program. 

Rethink Service is a twelve-week fellowship program that provides high school students the opportunity to complete a leadership curriculum to develop students’ leadership capacity and empower them to be community change agents. In addition, students are paired with a mentor who helps them develop and implement their community service projects. 

The program was created for high schoolers passionate about serving the community in an effort to provide them with the resources and tools necessary to impact local change, which were not fully available to them prior. Each student, also known as a fellow, is given the chance to choose their project topic and add their own creative touch to it. After project topics are chosen, the fellows are then connected with mentors from the business community whose skills best match each topic. 

There are six fellows participating in the program this year with topics ranging from education to civil rights. This year’s fellows include 10th-grader Rachel Xu from Eastside High School, 10th-grader Saika Chowdhury from Gainesville High School, 11th-grader Sophia Vernon from Buchholz High School, 11th-grader Phoenix Propes from Loften High School, 10th-grader Jibril Bachu from Eastside High School and 11th-grader Hannah Streeter-De Taboada from Oak Hall School. Their mentors are Stephanie Freas, Tiffany Williams-Propes, Dekova Batey, Laura Bialeck, and Dulce Diaz Roa. 

After the fellows have completed their projects, they will present them to the public on one of the three Global Youth Service Days: April 22, April 30 or May 1. 

Global Youth Service Days are annual events that gather volunteers from ages 5 to 25 to work together for civic benefit. They are the largest youth civic action and service events in the world. 

The Chamber and LYFEhouse are excited for a second successful year of the Rethink Service fellowship program, and they look forward to seeing the connections between fellows and mentors, as well as the benefits they will build throughout the community.