Cramer & Anderson Partner Jennifer Collins is nurturing an initiative for teens in the Ridgefield area to give back to the community by leading a new group affiliated with the national organization called Lion’s Heart.
Founded in 2004 in Southern California by Terry Corwin and her then 13-year-old son Spencer, Lion’s Heart now has chapters in 29 states and curates a wide range of community service projects by helping partner its young volunteers with thousands of nonprofits nationwide, including such organizations as the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.
Lion’s Heart consists of chapters and groups. Chapters cover cohesive geographic areas, acting as umbrella entities for a series of smaller groups with between three and 20 members of the same gender in the same grade in school.
The Ridgefield chapter of Lion’s Heart already had more than 20 members, and when Attorney Collins’ daughter Jillian wanted to join Lion’s Heart, she found the group was at its maximum membership for girls with a 2020 high school graduation date.
“I took on a class coordinator role and started a second Ridgefield group, thinking it would have just a few additional members,” said Attorney Collins. “Interest was overwhelming and we now have 18 members and are almost at our maximum membership!”
The new group, launched this past June, also has members from Danbury among the girls who attend both public and private schools, including two who are home-schooled.
“So it is quite an eclectic and energized group,” Attorney Collins said.
Group members have an app on their phones or computers to keep track of their service hours as they work to exceed a required minimum of 30 hours per service year.
Lion’s Heart student volunteers are eligible for a President’s Volunteer Service Award if they reach a certain number of hours, and also can use documented hours toward membership application with the National Honor Society.
The Ridgefield Red Group begun by Attorney Collins holds meetings every month or two, which are run by student officers elected by group members under Robert’s Rules of Order.
In summarizing the benefits of its volunteer service initiative, Lion’s Heart cites the positive impact it can have on helping students win admission to selective colleges and universities, and details how the teens “are exposed to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) service-learning projects such as animals, environmental, and health as they support the needs of local non-profits.”
Lion’s Heart membership is also a shared learning experience that promotes strong and positive social interaction, along with a civic mindset, encouraging “life-long habits of giving back that they can take with them to college and the workplace.”
The Ridgefield Red Group has already logged a number of service projects, including repurposing children’s stuffed toys as safe toys for dogs via Glad Dogs Nation kits, and donating the toys to Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue (ROAR).
Attorney Collins’ group of volunteers also crafted Halloween cards and sent them to an organization that distributes them to hospitalized children who can’t make it out for the holidays, and held a Halloween costume drive for children in Greater Danbury.
Another Red Group initiative involved writing letters of encouragement to a boy who was the victim of bullying.
Attorney Collins joined Cramer & Anderson as a Partner in October 2016 after guiding her own firm as Managing Member of Collins & Associates, LLC in the Greater Danbury Area. Her principal Practice Areas are Personal Injury, including motor vehicle accidents, Workers’ Compensation, and Social Security Disability. She is based in the firm’s Danbury office and may be reached at (203) 744-1234, or by email at email@example.com.
Cramer & Anderson also has offices in Ridgefield, New Milford, Litchfield, Kent and Washington Depot. For more information, see the website at crameranderson.com or call the New Milford office at (860) 355-2631.