Projects inspire public service

Teams prepare for competition at YSU

HOWLAND — Local Destination Imagination teams have been spending the past two months honing their creative skills as they prepare for regional competition March 16 at Youngstown State University.

Amy Awaida, a coach for two teams in the Howland Local School District, is working with both an elementary team and a high school team. They each selected the community service learning project category that includes an informational presentation.

Fifth-graders Elizabeth Davis and Lana Awaida of Howland North Road School, who are among five members of the “Fantastic Five” team, said of the six DI categories they liked the service learning project to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs and the problems of the opioid epidemic.

They said they like preparing for and taking part in the competition and have learned a lot researching their topic.

Awaida said the team did research on the impact drugs have on a community and are fundraising to purchase items for those in recovery houses.

“They felt it was very important to help those in recovery and helping to erase the stigma,” she said.

A high school team, “The Seven Bobs,” is doing a service awareness project on domestic violence.

This is the team’s seventh year, having made it to the global finals the last five years.

Thomas Awaida, a sophomore, said the category of domestic violence awareness and helping the Sojourner House was important. The team will send a message through a skit on preventing domestic abuse and ways to help people who are abused.

“Destination Imagination is a good activity to be part of. We want to represent Howland and our community,” he said.

Georgio Frazeskos, a sophomore, said they video-interviewed the president of Compass Family and Community Services to gather information for their presentation.

“I have always liked being part of a team for Destination Imagination,” said Maria Glaros, a freshman, who first competed in third grade.

Panayotis Glaros, a sophomore, said the team has become like a family, each year working together for the competition.

“We have learned so much about domestic violence and are helping the community. We learned there are ways to stop it,” he said.

The team is collecting items for a domestic violence shelter.

“Being able to take part in this still is a great opportunity. We have all stuck together for years. We wanted to keep the team going even though we have fewer members,” Frazeskos said, noting the challenge of time management due to being active in other school events.

Team members said being creative, imaginative and working together are keys to DI success.

Regional winners advance to the state event March 30 at Beaver Local High School. State winners advance to global finals in May in Kansas City, where they compete with teams from around the world.

DI is designed to engage participants in project-based challenges designed to build confidence and develop creativity, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills. DI is a global educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators, leaders and creative problem solvers.