Alley serving as Hopedale’s Project 351 Ambassador
By Theresa Knapp
Hopedale 8th grade student Megan Alley is this year’s Project 351 Ambassador.
Before being told last fall that she had been nominated for the program, Megan did not know anything about the program that was founded in 2011 by then-Governor Deval Patrick as a way to focus on the potential of the state’s youth.
“I wanted to participate because it was a really good opportunity for me,” says Megan, 13. “I have done some leadership programs in the past and I loved that this was a service leadership opportunity. I enjoy participating in service projects through Girl Scouts, with my brothers in Cub Scouts and with my family. I was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about the program before being nominated, and I got an email from [school guidance counselor] Ms. Brass with some information as to what it was about. She explained the values they look for in a nominee and why I had been chosen.”
The statewide project taps eighth grade students who can be described as “unsung heroes and quiet leaders” from all 351 municipalities in Massachusetts.
“I try to lead by example at school in making good choices, supporting my classmates when they are struggling, and I try to be there when someone needs help,” says Megan.
She says her favorite subject is science and she would like to be an astronomer when she gets older. She describes herself as someone who is very creative; loves dancing, learning and reading; and a Girl Scout. She also likes helping people and enjoys participating in service projects in her free time.
“I have made lunches for the homeless in Woonsocket and made food for the Mustard Seed. I have put together bags with toys and clothing to donate to students in need at our preschool program, and I am in the process of putting together a webpage to promote careers in STEM specifically for young girls to encourage them to go after their dreams even in a male dominated profession. I’ve also made pet items and donated them to local animal shelters and I volunteer at the Hopedale library when they need extra help.”
This year’s Project 351 Ambassadors held their first meeting in January in Boston.
“We met all of the other ambassadors and alumni as well as our service team at Faneuil Hall. It was really fun and I made some new friends that are ambassadors, and we all had a great time.”
At that first meeting, the teens were split into service group teams. Megan’s group went to La Colaborativa in Chelsea where they made wellness packages, food bags, and blankets to be given out to the people in need in the Chelsea area.”
Megan recently completed her “Spring Service Project” which was a clothing drive for Cradles to Crayons where they collected gently used clothing for children newborn to age 12. She reports, “With the support of the Hopedale community, I was able to collect 14 bags of clothes.”
The ambassadors have also completed an Earth Day service project, and will have another project in the fall. During the summer, participants will gather at a leadership reunion where they will be able to reconnect with other ambassadors they met in January. “I am really excited for this summer…We all live all over Massachusetts so we text, but we haven’t seen each other in a while.”
For more information on Project 351, visit www.project351.org.