Menchville’s “Lead4Change” Team Perseveres Through Covid-19 and Wins $10,000 Grand Prize.


Covid-19 and quarantine restrictions have put many people’s lives on hold over the past year. And while everything seems to be frozen in one place Menchville’s “Lead4Change” Team, FareShare,  has moved forward in remarkable ways, staying active and accomplishing great things.  Last week the team was once again named a grand prize winner by the national Lead4Change organization.

Team Sponsor Pete Mercier said the team was recognized for “their outstanding efforts to serve our school, school division, and greater community!”  The prize was $10,000.  Fareshare will split the prize this year with their non-profit partner, THRIVE Peninsula and the Menchville garden, food pantry, and other future projects.  In the 6years Menchville has been a member of the Lead4Change organization they have earned over $62,000 for local non-profit partners.

According to team members Beth Ellis (2021) and Kailani Vera (2021) the team was successful because they were able to “change their actions to fit the restrictions given to the community.”  While the team focus – “improve our community and our school in however many ways we can, through however many projects we can”  –  didn’t change, the way the team went about it changed a lot.

First off, the club had to switch all of their in-person meetings to virtual ones. Unfortunately, the switch over to virtual caused a decrease in the participation of some students due to conflicting schedules.  They also had to switch over their service projects to the technology side. Given that everyone was at home while they conducted these projects, their resources were limited compared to when they were in school.  This is one of the inspiring things shown by the group, the way things were completely virtual but still participated in projects and held meetings without letting the cause fall. Some projects the team worked on in the past were not able to be completed due to the COVID restrictions, Ellis said most projects were successfully completed. 

The club turned their annual Thanksgiving food drive into a district-wide event, created an advocacy project for all NNPS K-12 students, participated and earned a 2nd place finish in this year’s YVC (Youth Volunteer Corps) Canstruction Competition, and again hosted a virtual talent show for Menchville students.

Ellis said the team’s first project for the year, a district-wide Thanksgiving Virtual Canned Food Drive,  raised over $4,000 in monetary donations, and 2,896 pounds of food. Those donations were used to help provide 18, 513 meals to families in need.

The Canstruction Design inspired by The Student Activism Project.

The team also sponsored a district-wide Take A STAND Student Activism Project. For this project, students were invited to share their opinions and advocate for a specific topic of their choice by submitting paintings, performances,  dances, poems, short stories, or various other types of media submissions.  The submissions were posted on social media and the public was invited to vote for their favorite idea.  The team made a donation to the causes advocated for in the winning entries at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

The team also placed second in this year’s YVC Canstruction Competition.   In a normal year, canned food donations are collected and the team members compete against other schools at the local mall to organize the cans into a structure based on a theme. This year the theme was pretty flexible and groups were able to choose their own ideas for their structure. The canstructure creations were designed and submitted using an online program. Ellis said Fareshare chose a theme from another project they did this year – The Student Activism project.  “We used the theme of the winning project “Silence Empowers Violence” to inform our structure.”

Finally, the group sponsored a “Menchville’s Got Talent” virtual event.  Menchville students sent in videos of performances which Fareshare merged into a Youtube video that was shared with the community.  There were no awards, but the event was a way for students to showcase their talents.

“Lead4Change,” deserves all of the recognition for their hard work and determination during the pandemic. From adjusting to completely different schedules to finding new ways to participate in their service projects, to even completing these projects once they were started. This group definitely stands out in the crowd for their perseverance and dedication to their community. Members of the 20-21 Fareshare group are Sigrid Perkinson, Beth Ellis, Kailani Vera, Ashley Johnson, )Melissa Zheng, Desiree Harrington, Leah Louk, Logan Taylor, Tera Ortega, and Laura Beier.

The club can be found on many different social media platforms including Instagram @mhsfareshare, Youtube at MHS Fare Share, and Facebook, @mhsfareshare. They also maintain a website.

Both Ellis and Kailani encourage everyone at Menchville to participate in Fareshare next school year as every meeting makes all the difference in the community.