Hands4Hope has selected Niagara Pal as July's Alumni Spotlight! Niagara started volunteering for Hands4Hope when she was 11 years old, and founded the Hands4Hope club at Mira Loma High School. She recently graduated with a degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. She's volunteering for Hands4Hope this summer before she moves to Princeton, NJ in September to start her position as a marketing consultant at ZS!
How long and how were you involved with Hands4Hope?
I was involved with Hands4Hope from age 11, throughout high school. As the founder and president of the Hands4Hope Club at my school, Mira Loma High School, I developed several volunteer programs and organized fundraisers for causes in the Sacramento area. I was a member of the Youth Board and supported several of the board initiatives in El Dorado County. I also volunteered at outreach events such as the GVCC Kid’s Oasis, the Food Blitz Drive, the Winter Boutique, and the Creekview Senior Dinner.
How would you describe your experience with Hands4Hope?
I really enjoyed my time working with Hands4Hope! I started volunteering when I was 11 at the Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom, though as I grew older, I wanted to volunteer at other nonprofits as well. Hands4Hope gave me the opportunity to help a variety of causes and connect with other young volunteers. I also was able to see the impact my work had on the community.
What have you been up to since graduation?
I graduated in May from Cornell University, where I majored in Applied Economics and Management. I’m excited to be moving to Princeton, NJ in September, where I’ll be working as a marketing consultant at ZS.
Did H4H impact your college experience? If so, how?
Hands4Hope had a large impact on my college experience because of the skills I gained. I started a professional business club at Cornell, which required strong leadership, the ability to problem solve, and persistent attention to detail. These skills were initially developed through my experience of leading a Hands4Hope school club. I also was involved with public service during college. For two years I was a member of the organization committee for Cornell’s annual public service event, which connects over 500 volunteers with various nonprofits in the community. Both my knowledge of nonprofits and their needs and my skills in organizing volunteers helped me with this effort. I believe my experiences with Hands4Hope were a major contributor to my success in college.
If you could give one piece of advice to youth entering H4H, what would it be?
I’d recommend that young volunteers get as involved as possible! There are many skills that you can gain through volunteering with Hands4Hope both at events and through committees that will help in experiences down the road.