The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) recognizes Josef Marschall as a young man who lives to inspire and affect change. As a second grader, Josef joined the Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) at his school. He and his peers met once a week to learn about the dangers and harmful effects of landmines as well as the impact the mines have on people, animals, and communities in war-torn countries. Josef emerged as a leader within his CHAMPS group and was an active participant during monthly virtual calls.
Josef and his peers worked together to create fundraisers such as bake sales, candy grams, and K9-9K family fun events during his time in elementary and middle school. Over the years, Josef and the CHAMPS group at his school worked to sponsor seven mine detection dogs through MLI and were able to communicate with young people in countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Iraq. The CHAMPS group also sponsored eleven mine survivors in Yemen through their fundraising efforts. Josef was at the forefront of all the fundraising activities and soon his family became involved as well.
In 2018, Josef and his family welcomed Nutmeg, a retired mine detection dog (MDD) into their home. Nutmeg, one of 273 MDDs sponsored by MLI, worked for eight years sniffing out mines and contributing to the clearing of land for safe use by the Lebanese people. Although Josef was in middle school, he remained active in the CHAMPS program and served as an impressive role model to the younger students. He and his family even shared Nutmeg with the school as a way to allow students to learn about the dogs and to honor Nutmeg as the hero she was. He continued to participate in fundraisers and created fundraising and awareness events in his middle school.
As Josef entered high school, he applied to a service grant contest and after winning the contest and receiving the highest grant, he kickstarted his own campaign to raise $20,000 to sponsor a life-saving MDD. As a freshman in high school, Josef worked with students in the elementary school to raise funds, held bake sales, and spoke to charitable groups such as the local Rotary Club. Between 2019 – 2020, Josef raised close to $8000 and was going strong until COVID hit. This did not deter Josef, and although he was attending school virtually and the world was in quarantine, he continued to build awareness of the landmine issue and raise funds.
In the summer of 2020, Josef participated in Peace Makers & Problem Solvers (PMPS), a six-week virtual program connecting youth in Yemen and the United States. During this program, Josef and his peers created service projects to benefit their communities including a special hand-washing station to be used as a preventative measure for COVID.
In addition to completing college applications, preparing to graduate from high school, completing class assignments, and participating in extra-curricular activities, Josef joined MLI’s first session of Peace Through Sport (PTS). This eight-week program connected students from Lebanon and the US and required all participants to work with their teams to create a meaningful service-learning project to benefit their locally communities.
Josef is an outstanding young leader and is the first young person to participate in all three MLI educational programs. Josef’s greatest accomplishment was to be able to raise enough money to sponsor his very own mine detection dog. Josef and his family will visit the Global Training Academy in Texas to select a dog that will likely be deployed to Azerbaijan to help search landmines.
The impact of young leaders is significant, as they work to make the world a better place. Josef Marschall is a prime example of the impact young people can have on their local and global communities. Congratulations to Josef Marschall on his many accomplishments!