Students create a “meaningful summer” for Aurora youth through a non-profit organization

Some of us spent our summer writing college essays or attending summer camps, but a handful of District 204 students joined together to continue a mission that was started five years ago: to create more meaningful summers.

The appropriately named group, Meaningful Summers, was initially started by a group of 13-year-olds, that carried the tradition until their graduation from Metea last Spring. Meaningful Summers has grown since then and now consists of nine District 204 students as assistant directors and even more volunteers forming the ancillary team.

Each summer, they create a new goal or mission for the season. The summer of 2017, they focused on rebuilding the image of Aurora through the “One Aurora” movement. Their goal this summer was to focus on promoting mental, physical, and social health awareness through multiple community events for teens.

The first event, a kickball tournament, was hosted on July 28th in Naperville Yard. Pizza and refreshments were all included in the entry fee, and the organization raised almost $3,000 that would be used both to fund the next event, and to be donated to the community.

Their second event of the summer was hosted in Downtown Aurora at the Water Street Mall and consisted of numerous performances by artists and public speakers. There was also the chance to enter a raffle, as well as free refreshments and pizza served at the event.

A handful of the performers were District 204 graduates, including but not limited to Jus Toid, Minanh, and Metea’s Apollo music group. The student-led clothing brand, Offbeat, was a sponsor of the event and had its very own booth.

Besides students, the event also hosted Dr. Viji, a clinical psychologist and founder of Self Improvement Through Awareness (SITA). She spoke at the event regarding healthy mental health practices and attitudes among teens.

The grand finale was a dance performance by Simply Destinee, a dance group created to promote healthy outlets and suicide awareness for Aurora teens. With the help of multiple sponsors and the money raised from the kickball tournament, Meaningful Summers surprised Simply Destinee with a donation of $1,500 after their performance.

“It’s a really amazing feeling to be able to see the youth around us help out and be engaged in making their summers as meaningful as possible,” Metea senior and Meaningful Summers’ Director of Corporate Communications Saloni Garg said.

Meaningful Summers was presented a Mayoral Commendation for its efforts in empowering and influencing the community on Tuesday, August 28th. Their hard work and dedication will continue into fall for a fundraiser and car show, cleverly named “Cartober”.

If you are interested in being a part of Meaningful Summers, you can apply for their ancillary team by emailing them at [email protected] or visiting their website, .