Since the beginning of my college career, I have attended St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and have fulfilled the role of the high school youth group leader. The church itself has a service based mission and the youth group follows in this pathway. Fulfilling this role requires making plans for various meeting throughout the year and ensuring that the parents and youth are aware of these plans. With our service mission, we participate in events such an annual Day of Caring, caroling at the elderly church members’ houses, making blankets for homeless shelters, and cleaning the church, to name a few. We also have meetings where we play sports, visit local museums, and work at Gleaners, the food pantry. The youth group has functions at least twice a month and we try to combine activities that are exciting for the youth and beneficial for the community. Planning and initiating these activites has helped me become a more effective leader.
Being a church in an underserved area, we have a diverse group of youth that attend our meetings and we always express the ideas of acceptance and care. These kids have helped me learn about my community and the tactics that need to be implemented to help serve and protect the youth in this area. I grew up in an area that had extremely low crime rates and few, if any, gangs. But the children that I work are faced with real world problems that involve gang involvement and weapons. My personal goal, along with being someone they can confide in and grow with, is to provide them with critical thinking skills and support to think through the extremely tough situations they are faced with. Volunteering with these kids has helped me become a better leader and mentor, as well as make a positive impact within my community. I love traveling abroad and volunteering, but I also love to be involved at home in my community.