Samie Sebestik, Hendersonville High School, Tennessee

We sometimes don’t give teachers enough credit. They arguably have the most important jobs in the world.

Our teachers today are responsible for educating the next generation. What they do, say, and teach will significantly impact the world’s future.

Teachers mold the minds of our youth. Some do it only in the classroom. Others do it outside through sports, community service, and school events. Samie Sebestik is a teacher who does both. She teaches her kids Spanish and how to care for others through the Yuda Bands Project.

Samie Sebastik is a teacher at Hendersonville High School and part of various school clubs. She is a co-sponsor of the Spanish Club, a member of the school’s data team, a member of the AP Committee, and a faculty member of the School Climate Team.

Sam handles a lot of responsibilities. But she still makes time to lead the school’s community service events. One of the successful community service events she managed in 2016 was the Yuda Bands Project.

INSPIRING OTHER TEACHERS WITHOUT LEAVING THE COUCH

The Hendersonville High School faculty, staff, and students do community service work every year. In the past, the teachers and students were part of the Pulsera Project. After a decline in sales, Sam was looking for something new to bring to the school in 2016.

One teacher on Twitter gave her an idea. While Sam was browsing through the Social Media site, a teacher posted about the Yuda Bands Project through #langchat.

#langchat is a community of teachers on Twitter. They share stories, experiences, lessons, & even tips, on how to become better teachers.

“I’ve learned so much from professionals all across the US without ever having to leave my couch!” – Samie

ESTABLISHING DEEPER CONNECTIONS

Sam quickly fell in love with the Yuda Bands Project. She loved how it brings people together.

“When I saw that you actually get to make a deeper connection with one student (i.e. The Skype chat) I knew that Yuda Bands was the perfect organization for us to support,” Sam said.

Hendersonville High School Spanish Club chose to sponsor Elvis Elias, a 15-year old kid from Guatemala. Sam and her co-teachers officially started selling at the end of November. They started selling to the whole school at the beginning of December 2016.

“…rewarding to see students working so hard to bless someone else…”

The students under Samie’s care were all in. They were ready to promote, sell, and help Elvis. In fact, they even made a quick promotional video they played for the school’s student body.

Elvis Grerardo Osorlo Elias needed 340 Yuda Bands sold so he can continue studying. After 2-3 weeks, Samie and her high school managed to sell 385 Yuda Bands.

“Our best sales took place in our classroom simply because we had the most time to advertise there and because our students actually got to Skype with Elvis and saw he was a real person simply trying to continue his education,” Sam told us.

Overall, the Yuda Bands Project was a success. However, there were bumps and bruises along the way.

The club had money and collection problems. At one point, the money collected didn’t line up with the number of bracelets sold. They were at least ten bracelets short or $70+ short.

Alongside the Yuda Bands Project, teachers and students were also collecting donations for the local Samaritan Center. Sam believes people got confused which money belonged where.

Teachers and students alike worried about the situation. However, they didn’t give up. In fact, they stepped up.

“Although we were stressed about this situation and disappointed because we wanted to raise as much money as possible for our student, Elvis, the students didn’t give up,” Sam said.

The students raised monetary donations to make up for the disparity. Sam was amazed by how students were unselfishly giving their time to help another student.

“The whole process was really rewarding to see students working so hard to bless someone else with something that we all-to-often take for granted,” she said.

LET STUDENT LEADERS TAKE CONTROL…

Advertising on social media was a big part of their success. The students would promote their Yuda Bands, and their friends would share it because of the cause behind it.

Another reason why they succeeded was that Samie let her students take control. She admitted it was hard.

“I know it is hard to let go of control sometimes but the students can really get into this service project, and we saw some kids really run with it!”

Ms. Samie Sebastik was excellent throughout the entire Project. Phillip Whiting, Yuda Bands Project Manager, said Sam was great to work with.

“She is very organized, and I’m sure she is a great teacher! I love that she incorporated the Skype call with Elvis with her Spanish students,” Phillip said.

Samie was surprised with her student’s generosity and ability to look past themselves. These kids can change the world if given the right tools and opportunities.

It’s a great privilege to see young students become mature leaders in front of our eyes.

That’s what the Yuda Bands Project wants — to see them grow in humility, excellence, and unselfishness — because that’s what the world needs right now.

If you’re a teacher who wants to start a community service project like Samie, contact us here.

You’ll help an underprivileged student in a 3rd world country finish her school, feed her and give her school supplies. Not only that, you and your class can even speak and visit her if you want.

Visit us here and learn more about the Yuda Bands Project Today.

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