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Southlake Style

SASO Continues to Grow

Dec 20, 2013 09:46AM ● By Anonymous

Scholars & Athletes Serving Others Combines Philanthropic Work and Personal Growth

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Submitted by Lauren Hill

High school years can be confusing, complicated and contentious, especially between teenagers and their mothers. While most students are struggling to balance academics, extracurricular activities and a social life, mothers are struggling to provide guidance and counsel. Seeking to strengthen this bond and broaden the horizons of high school boys and girls is Scholars & Athletes Serving Others (SASO), a 501c3 non-profit organization that combines philanthropic work and personal growth. The organization's name represents its all-inclusiveness, which is at the heart of its mission.

"Whether you're a football player, in the band or on the debate team, you are welcome at SASO," states Laura Hill, a founding member who has been involved for the past two years with her son, Trent, a junior at Carroll Senior High School.

Founded in 2011 by nine Southlake mother and son duos, SASO was originally formed to provide community service projects for teenage boys and their moms, but added a girls group this fall that is run by a separate board of directors.

According to Hill, girls were not intentionally excluded, but it was coincidence that all founding members had teenage sons.

"A group of mothers got together one day and decided to do community service with their sons  ̶  everything we do is charitable work. We want our boys to have opportunities to be better citizens," she explains.

Unlike other service organizations, SASO's only requirement to join is the student be in grade 9-12 and live in Southlake (do not have to attend Carroll ISD). Currently, there are 448 moms and sons in the SASO boys group, with a waiting list to join. The girls group, which held its inaugural meeting October 31, quickly reached its 50 member maximum for the first year. Students must re-apply each year and applications are accepted in the order they are received  ̶  the sooner the better.

Funded entirely through membership dues ($100 per member), SASO partners with several organizations to host events throughout the year (see sidebar). The philanthropic opportunities are selected by the boys and girls. Students and their moms are required to participate in at least three philanthropic opportunities together during the school year. In addition, the students are required to attend at least one personal growth meeting with topics such as local and state government, money management, how-to prepare for college interviews, and even tough subjects like drugs & alcohol and how Teen Court works.

"We really felt there was a need to reach all boys in Southlake and we welcome everyone with open arms," says SASO President, Tina Wasserman, a founding member with her son, Bryce, a senior at Faith Christian. "We try to balance our service projects both outside of Southlake and in our own backyard. If your heart is right, come join us and we'll make a difference."

SASO has proven so successful in Southlake that new chapters are forming out-of-state, the first being in Fairfield, CT, and several others are in the process.

"We want to help kids get connected and get involved  ̶  I believe this can change lives," Hill adds.

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