How long and how were you involved with Hands4Hope?
I was involved with Hands4Hope from 8th grade until I left for college in a multitude of ways. When I started, it was simply volunteering for events that interested me, mainly serving children. I then got a leadership role teaching the afterschool Media Smart Youth program and my involvement grew from there. I led the marketing team for the H4H Haunted House while it was still in operation, and sat on the Winter Boutique Committee. One of the specific outreaches I loved was Sister Nora’s. My last year I was the Youth Board President, also sitting in on meetings for the Hands4Hope Executive Board, as well as leading the Team Hope program at Silva Valley elementary.
How would you describe your experience with Hands4Hope?
My experience was completely life changing. The adult mentors saw potential in skills I possessed that I did not even know I had in me. They constantly pushed me to be the best version of myself, to step outside of my comfort zone. This was huge for a shy person like freshman year me!! I loved every minute of what I was doing and felt empowered by all the opportunities I was presented with.
What have you been up to since graduation?
I now attend Willamette University where I am studying Civic Communications and Media. I work as a coordinator in our Community Service Learning office and as a wellness coordinator for campus recreation. I have planned countless service trips and major events, including the most recent weeklong sustainability week for my campus.
Did Hands4Hope impact your college experience? If so, how?
Hands4Hope impacted more than just my leadership skills and need to serve others. It instilled confidence in me that I carry to each class presentation, job interview, and event I host. I learned so much about communicating with others and "real world" skills from my time with Hands4Hope that I would not have been able to gain just from high school.
If you could give one piece of advice to youth starting Hands4Hope, what would it be?
Have an open mind and seize opportunities that are given to you, you could find something you are passionate about!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The people of Hands4Hope are what are truly important. The connections I made have stuck with me to this day.