Jonas Rizek, 17, a senior at Eisenhower High School and the Utica Center for Science and Industry, organized a donation to Family Youth Interventions that included food, hygiene items and gift cards.

Jonas Rizek, 17, a senior at Eisenhower High School and the Utica Center for Science and Industry, organized a donation to Family Youth Interventions that included food, hygiene items and gift cards.

Photo provided by Julie Rizek

Scout donates thousands in items to children’s shelter for eagle project

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 21, 2021


SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — A local Boy Scout’s eagle project will help children who are in crisis situations get much-needed items such as snacks, hygiene products, breakfast foods and more.

Jonas Rizek, 17, who is a senior at Eisenhower High School and the Utica Center for Science and Industry, completed his eagle project April 2. To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must complete a service project that benefits the local community in some way.

Rizek is a part of Boy Scout Troop 123 out of Rochester Hills.

With a little assistance, he was able to collect more than $2,000 in food, personal hygiene items and gift cards for Family Youth Interventions, a children’s shelter in Mount Clemens. He reached out to family, friends, neighbors, Boy Scout Troop 123, Delta Dental of Michigan, Kroger and Meijer for donations, and they all donated.

Rizek said he came up with the project by thinking of the best way he could help others while still being under the restrictions of COVID-19.

“Out of the shelters I contacted, the Family Youth Intervention shelter, it seemed to be the one I could help the most,” he said.

Family Youth Interventions, located in Mount Clemens, assists youth and young adults who are in runaway and homeless situations. FYI is a nonprofit organization and has served young people from Macomb County and surrounding areas for 45 years.

He said that it took about two months of planning and organizing to get the project set up.

“First, I completed the Eagle Scout service proposal and received approval. Then an Eagle Scout service project plan was written. I placed 100 flyers around my neighborhood, then a week later collected all the donations. I asked other family, friends and Scouts to collect donations for my eagle project. I even set up an Amazon wish list to collect donations. Then I had a few Scouts over to sort, organize and add up all the donations to get ready for delivery,” he said.

He said his Eagle Scout service project coach suggested he reach out to companies that may be able to contribute to his project. Rizek then filled out forms online and wrote letters to Kroger and Meijer, requesting donations.

Julie Rizek, Jonas Rizek’s mom, said her son had started with a different idea, but due to COVID-19, he had to switch his idea to donations.

“During the last year of Jonas preparing for his Eagle Scout project, there has been many challenges and setbacks. His first project he wanted to build from his own design was a bike repair station. He was going to use machines at his Thunderchickens robotics team’s shop, but (the) COVID pandemic happened, so the shop got closed and he was no longer (able) to use the machines. He had to go back to square one and research other ideas that would be more COVID friendly,” she said.

She said she had been truly impressed with his positive attitude and perseverance through the entire process.

“It was great to see when he puts his mind to something, he stays focused and goes above and beyond to complete it. Jonas is an extraordinarily kind, respectful and helpful young man who holds all the qualities of an Eagle Scout. My husband and I couldn’t be more proud of our son Jonas, and we believe he will have even more of a positive impact in the community in the future,” said Julie Rizek.

Jonas Rizek said the whole experience of the eagle project taught him some important lessons.

“It made me realize how generous my family, friends and community can be during these times and how easy it could be to make a positive change in others’ lives. I am thankful I could help the teenagers at the Family Youth Interventions program with some of their daily needs,” he said.

Jane Kauffman, the program manager of Family Youth Interventions’ Basic Center, said that the organization relies on donations like the one Rizek organized to help the youth in the program.

“Eagle Scout Jonas Rizek made a very generous donation to our youth shelter on April 2. The agency relies heavily on individual and community donations. Jonas went above and beyond to get the word out, go door to door and collect items for our program’s youth. Items included snacks, hygiene products, breakfast foods, drawstring backpacks, cleaning supplies along with items from Delta Dental, a $100 gift card from Kroger and a $500 gift card from Meijer. It is so nice to see young people go to the extent Jonas did to help other young people who are struggling,” said Kauffman.

Jonas Rizek has been in Scouting for 12 years and is now working on writing his Eagle Scout project report and thank-you letters.

“I hope to have this completed in the next month, and then I will be able to celebrate at my Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor ceremony. Then I will be officially an Eagle Boy Scout,” he said.