Teens provide 1,200 service hours

Members of the Lion’s Heart 2021 chapter serve lunch at the Ronald McDonald House on a regular basis. (courtesy of Lion’s Heart)

Teens provide 1,200 service hours

A group of young men from Scripps Ranch have been giving back to the community with remarkable dedication.

The local chapter of Lion’s Heart, a national service group organization, boasts an incredible 1,223 service hours so far this year. Each chapter of Lion’s Heart is organized by gender, class year and location. Melanie Durkin became the class coordinator for the Scripps Ranch 2021 young men’s group after going through the training when her eldest son was in eighth grade.

In a span of just three years, Durkin has grown the group to the maximum number allowed in a local chapter with the 2021 class reaching 20 young men this year. Durkin said each member typically exceeds the 30-service-hour goal set by the members.

“They are all athletes and are busy kids with packed schedules. They are finding whatever time they have to accomplish their service hours for the group,” Durkin said.

The group meets six times a year to discuss, plan and organize the service opportunities throughout the year. Durkin said the opportunities are shared among the group on a continual basis.

“There are so many different types of opportunities. They will participate in the elementary school festivals such as the Miramar Ranch Halloween carnival, Becky’s House Domestic Violence Program, Christmas shopping for the elderly and Ronald McDonald House, to list a few,” Durkin said.

She said it is helpful to have Lion’s Heart as a motivation for volunteering in the community.

“Lion’s Heart gets the members into the service mindset of giving back to our community,” Durkin said.

Many of the members, including original members Riley Merrigan and Luke Durkin, have grown to find an appreciation for service work through the Lion’s Heart organization. Luke volunteered with the Challenged Athlete Foundation triathlon, noting, “It was very empowering and showed how people are able to persevere through their challenges.”

Members are encouraged to participate in the opportunities both with members of the Lion’s Heart group and with their family members.

“My favorite project has been volunteering at Father Joes Village with my mom and other Lion’s Heart members because I really feel like I am making a difference,” Merrigan said. “I can see the result right in front of my eyes.”

Melanie Durkin said the group’s next big project is volunteering with the Build A Miracle non-profit. The teens will help build and furnish a home in Mexico for a family in need and will receive 12 service hours for participating.

For more information about Lion’s Heart, visit

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