Monday, May 18, 2009

Recognizing Youthlaunch Service Scholarship Recipient, No. 2

Tyler Folse, Houston
2009 YouthLaunch Service
Scholarship Recipient

Tyler Folse began high school as an introverted young man who was grieving the death of his father just a few years before. When he got involved with service, he was searching for a way to honor his father’s legacy and make a difference in the world. He began with a small but inspired idea: a garage sale that would raise money for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

More than two million people have been displaced from their homes and over 400,000 killed in Darfur. Tyler shared information about the crisis with his community, and in his first garage sale he raised $1900 for rescue and relief in Darfur. He donated the money to the International Relief Committee, which works to deliver medical care, safe drinking water, and comfort to families fleeing violence in Sudan.

Over the next two years, Tyler’s garage sale event grew from a modest sale of things found around Tyler’s own home to a large-scale affair. Tyler took charge of marketing, soliciting item donations, handling eBay sales, and managing 17 volunteers, as well as coordinating the 3-day event. By the time he executed his third garage sale, he’d raised over $18,000 to benefit refugees in Darfur.

Tyler says, “I am most proud of the fact that through my garage sale efforts, I created an opportunity for people in Houston to help. I have found that sometimes people really do want to help others, but find it overwhelming to know where to begin. Because their lives are busy, it is easy to continually put off thinking about it. Through my garage sale, I made it easy for people to help.”

The garage sale project is just one example of Tyler’s creative service. While volunteering for a non-profit fair trade organization, he noticed the large amount of cardboard, paper, and plastic thrown away each week—so he created and implemented a new recycling system that dramatically reduced the waste the organization had been generating. “All I had to do was generate a good idea, make it easy for people to follow the plan, and we were able to unite a large group of volunteers around [it],” he says.

Tyler will enter college in the fall, majoring in nuclear engineering. He aspires to create inexpensive, renewable, environmentally-friendly energy to continue to fuel human progress. And he says service has opened his eyes to new possibilities: “By starting on a small scale, and then expanding as my skills and confidence grew, I learned that each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in the world.”

Tyler was selected from more than 100 applicants state-wide for this recognition.

The Luncheon recognizing Tyler and the other two recipients is June 11, 2009 at 11:30-1:00pm at the Hyatt Regency of Austin. The Luncheon will also recognize Youthlaunch's own youth participants in its programs for service excellence. For more information about the event, go to:

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