Why We Give Thanks


A Message from SCA President and CEO Jaime Matyas

As we prepare to give thanks with friends and family, I want to express my gratitude for your ongoing support of SCA volunteers. Your generosity allows SCA volunteers to impact every corner of our country…two in particular come to mind today.

Camden, New Jersey is no national park. It’s been cited as both the most dangerous and the poorest city in America. It’s also a “food desert” where most residents are unable to purchase basic meal time staples like fresh tomatoes, onions and apples. Not because they can’t afford them. Because there are no stores in which to buy them.

But this holiday, 10% of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed at local tables will come from the harvest of local SCA high school students working together at the Camden Children’s Garden. “If I can give back to my community,” states SCA’s Desmond Hill, “maybe our violence rate will go down. Maybe it’ll look a little nicer. And maybe people will eat healthier foods.”

Camden may struggle with poverty but its youth, like those across America, are rich in spirit. They offer thanks through giving.  

I see the same thing out West, where young military veterans are serving their country in new ways through SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps. After extended tours overseas, these vets are now working in national forests, mitigating wildfire risks as they train for conservation careers. And, as corps leader Katy Tuckerman notes, “this program is about helping veterans transition from military to civilian service, and maintain that sense of purpose they had in the armed forces.”  Katy, a former Army sergeant, has just been hired by the US Forest Service.

Your renewed support will ensure that SCA can continue to provide our young women and men with powerful, hands-on experiences that will shape lives and lands for years to come. 

I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and as you give thanks on Thursday, remember Desmond and Katy…as well as the many other young Americans who have asked me to share their gratitude with you for your support so they may continue to serve.

Thank you.

Jaime Berman Matyas, President and CEO, Student Conservation Association





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