Allison Simko is this month’s Youth Spotlight! Hands4Hope would like to recognize Allison for all the hard work she puts into all projects that she works on, her commitment to the Homeless Outreach Committee, and her creativity in producing the One Minute Update and alumni videos for H4H social media.
What is your school and grade? How long have you been involved with H4H?
I am in 11th grade and I go to Oak Ridge High school. I have been in H4H for 4 years.
Why did you join Hands4Hope?
I joined Hands4Hope my freshman year of high school because I was looking for a way to get more involved in the community and I wanted more volunteer experience. My sister recommended Hands4Hope because of how much it impacted her, so I decided to apply because I loved how many different committees and outreaches Hands4Hope offered.
How has Hands4Hope helped you in school, with your friends and family, and in life?
Thanks to Hands4Hope, I have come completely out of my shell. At the beginning of high school, nothing was more intimidating to me than going in front of my classes to give a presentation, but thanks to the leadership skills that I’ve developed as part of Hands4Hope, I have no problem speaking in front of others. Even beyond just school, Hands4Hope has given me so much more confidence in all aspects of my life, from approaching others to being comfortable and adaptable in new environments. Additionally, I have noticed a change in aspects of my life that I had never even thought would be affected when I first joined Hands4Hope; I have developed more empathy towards others and an awareness about different people’s situations that extends beyond just our community.
What has your experience been like since joining?
Throughout my experience with Hands4Hope, I have been constantly in awe of the amount of support and guidance I have received from adult mentors and other experienced volunteers. Even though I didn’t start out as a natural leader when I first joined the Oak Ridge Club, I found it extremely painless to grow into the outgoing person that I am today because of the guidance I received from impactful mentors along every step of the way.
What I find so impactful about Hands4Hope is that every volunteer has the ability to become a leader and develop their unique skill set in a way that benefits the community. Not only has Hands4Hope taught me that I have the capability to impact our community, it has taught me how to develop myself through service to become a better person. I know that the time I have spent with Hands4Hope will leave an impression on me that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experiences with Hands4Hope?
Even though I became a volunteer not really knowing what I was getting myself into, Hands4Hope has completely changed my outlook on life, making me truly appreciate the change I can effect in our community.