For most teenagers, text messaging has increased the feasibility of communicating with family, sending funny pictures to classmates, or hashing out in great detail to friends what their crush said to them between class periods that day.
For some teenagers, however, text messaging has been used to discuss something different, at least when referring to the members of New Leaders, More Service, Real Change, or more commonly known as NMR.
“NMR was originally a group message,” said member Ashtyn Nichols. “Our friend and the president of NMR, Parisa Jahangirizadeh, thought it would funny to start a message over text with her friends to talk about random things and get together every once in a while.”
What initially started out as a text message filled with casual babblings between friends quickly evolved into something far more significant once members of the group decided to make their get-togethers benefit not only themselves.
“This is how the idea of a service club was born,” said Nichols. “We know that there are many active service clubs available in the city and schools, but NMR provides social activities and invites members to start and lead projects on their own using the club as a resource.”
“This element created the leadership aspect, which is one of our most important traits,” continued Nichols.
Although all of NMR’s founding members are currently sophomores or juniors at Turlock High School, the club has welcomed nearly 50 other students from Turlock Junior High School, Dutcher Middle School, Pitman High School, Modesto High School, Gregori High School, Livingston High School, and Hughson High School since its official establishment in December.
“Our club is very inclusive and doesn’t charge any sort of fee to be a part of,” said Nichols. “More students should join because it makes Turlock, Modesto, and the surrounding areas a better place.”
The club meets bimonthly in various locations around Turlock to discuss different methods that will foster the achievement of the club’s underlying goal, which according to Nichols is to promote community involvement in young adults.
“By community involvement, we don’t just mean service and volunteer work, but also fun social events and leadership activities,” said Nichols. “Having a group of teens who actually enjoy working together, serving their community and engaging in fun activities is rare in most occasions, but it’s our goal through NMR to create a group of teens who desire exactly that.”
NMR has demonstrated its dedication to achieving this goal already through member participation in a number of events, including the club’s first community service event, where in which they collected Christmas gifts for families in single-parent homes.
Not only did NMR reach out to the community during this event, but members also enjoyed a social aspect by participating in a white elephant gift exchange with other members and ice skating at “Fields of Ice” at RAM Farms.
“This event was so great that we are planning a larger one for the upcoming holiday season,” said Nichols.
Club members have also connected with a number of influential members throughout the community, including Relay for Life director Kristin Bettencourt, New Life Christian Center’s Children’s Ministry director Kourtney Avila, and Mayor Gary Soiseth, who started his own club similar to NMR when he was younger and provided guidance and encouragement.
Although the club’s dedication to change in the community has already been demonstrated in just its first few months of operation, Nichols reports that NMR’s biggest fundraising event is yet to come.
At the Autism Awareness Benefit Concert this month, guests will have the opportunity to listen to local performer Neil Buettner, dance to music from Pendulum Pro DJ Services, and listen to stars in the making during karaoke style performances from a number of talented youth.
A portion of proceeds from the concert will go back to the club in order to finance the event; however, a majority of the funds raised will go towards the Carlos Vieira Foundation, a local organization which focuses primarily on helping autistic children throughout the Central California.
“Autism Spectrum Disorder affects thousands of kids and is widely misunderstood, so even just getting people talking about it is helpful,” said Nichols. “Having this concert was an early goal of ours when we first started and we are so excited that it is coming up.”
During the event, guests will be able to participate in free games, purchase tantalizing finger foods, and get a chance to win one of many donated prizes from generous sponsors throughout the community. For each dollar donated to the Carlos Vieira Foundation, guests will receive one ticket that will be entered into a prize drawing. The prize list can be found on the club’s website, NMRclub.com.
“Our goal is to raise $3,000,” said Nichols. “People should come to this event because it’s going to be fun and beneficial to those that are a part of the community. It’s an affordable family event on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that helps families and youth in the San Joaquin County.”
Tickets can be purchased for $5 by calling 262-4582 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The concert is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 18 at the New Life Christian Center. For more information on NMR, visit nmrclub.com.