LIVINGSTON, NJ — After hosting several successful community service projects over the last few months, the Livingston Youth Organization for Human Services (LYOHS)—a local nonprofit organization led by Livingston High School students and aimed at improving the lives of as many people as possible—has accelerated its operations for the fall and is already recruiting participants for two upcoming events.

In the coming weeks, members of the LYOHS are hosting a community-wide cleanup that will provide an opportunity for local youth to be awarded certified community service hours and a raffle benefiting the Trial Blazers for Kids Foundation, which is dedicated to funding innovative clinical trials for pediatric cancers treatments in memory of 14-year-old Livingston resident Jake Kestler.

“Our organization has made a successful effort at hitting the ground running this past month,” said LYOHS President Matthew Zhang. “The new school year has come with new challenges in the form of more difficult courses at school and competitive sports. However, our team has collectively made a promise that no matter how busy we become this year, leading LYOHS will remain one of our top personal commitments.”

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Since late June, the LYOHS has conducted several successful community service projects to benefit a variety of local causes.

The two most extensive undertakings included an ongoing learning resources drive for K-12 students in the Newark school district and a non-perishable food drive for Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.  

“Our learning resources drive portrayed the passion our organization has for helping kids around NJ attain a quality education,” said Rishab Bamzai, LYOHS Creativity Director. “After collecting nearly 60 boxes and bags of donated books and school supplies, I’ve realized that many residents of Livingston are willing to help the community, and LYOHS is all for that.”

In August, the organization took another route and continued to support victims of COVID-19.

In partnership with Blissful Us, a non-profit organization run by LHS sophomore Anusha Bansal, LYOHS members helped conduct a food drive for families forced into dire financial situations due to the pandemic. blissfulus.org

“Our goal was to provide basic necessities for those left unemployed by the pandemic,” said LYOHS Chief Operating Officer Raghav Ladda. “By helping to raise nearly 20 shopping bags worth of food, we believe that we’ve made a difference in the lives of numerous New Jersey citizens.”

Comprehensive planning throughout the month of September has led to the organization of additional service projects that will be held over the next few weeks.

The LYOHS is currently encouraging community members to purchase a $5 raffle ticket in honor of Kestler, who lost his battle with two different pediatric cancers in 2019. Each ticket purchased will secure the buyer one spot on a random wheel selector that will determine the cash prizewinner.

Twenty percent of funds (or $1 of every $5 ticket) will go toward the grand prize while the remaining 80 percent of funds collected will go directly toward Trial Blazers for Kids.

“I am so happy that we, as a group, can use our platform to raise awareness for pediatric cancer,” said LYOHS secretary Zach Feldman. “Growing up, my brother and I, as well as my family, had and still have a very close relationship with the Kestler family. Taking part in this event has been an extremely meaningful experience.”

Raffle tickets can be purchased via Venmo to @Livingston-YOHS or via PayPal or Zelle to livingstonyohs@gmail.com. Although LYOHS encourages the purchase of any number of raffle tickets, deals are currently being offered for the purchase of 12 tickets for $50 or 25 tickets for $100.

The community cleanup will be held on a Sunday in November, during which trash bags, gloves, cleanup tools and refreshments will be provided to all participants. Anyone can take part in the event, and student volunteers will specifically be awarded certified community service hours.

In order to finalize the details of this event, the LYOHS is conducting a public survey to garner input on specific dates, times and locations for the cleanup. The group will take this feedback into account when organizing the event.

Community members can fill out the survey BY CLICKING HERE.

CLICK HERE to read more about previous service projects conducted by LYOHS. For further information on LYOHS events this fall, visit www.livingstonyohs.org, @LivingstonYOHS on Facebook, or @livingston-yohs on Instagram. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email livingstonyohs@gmail.com

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