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Youth Spotlight: Leighton Parkhurst

Updated: Apr 8

Leighton is a 7th grader at Marina Village Middle School, and is in her second year of involvement with Hands4Hope. She's already jumped into a leadership position this year as treasurer of the on-campus Club, and is involved in Hands4Hope in other ways, as well.

Hands4Hope Program Director Nicole Craine said, "I have had the pleasure of being Leighton's mentor this year at the Marina Club and she is a delight to work with. As treasurer, she takes her job seriously ensuring their current project K-9 Carnival stays on budget. What I notice most about Leighton's leadership style is she is very inclusive, always making sure the participants in the Club and on her Finance Committee know what is going on and have their voice heard as a part of the group. "

Tell us about your involvement with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference.

I have worked at the Hands4Hope Fall Festival twice, and I have worked at the Kid Zone Area at the Town Center Fireworks & Freedom Concert once. This is also my first year working as a leader for my school club. I am the Treasurer of the club.

What motivated you to get involved with Hands4Hope?

I first heard about Hands4Hope from my friend, Kenna, and my Dad, Steve Parkhurst, who is on the Hands4Hope Fundraising Committee. He thought it would be a good idea. He told me about how everyone was super nice and how over time, participants develop many skills. That motivated me to join the club. After my first year in the club in 6th grade, I decided that I wanted to be a leader.

How has Hands4Hope helped you in school, with your friends and family, and in life? 

I joined Hands4Hope in 2022, and we were still in a phase of recovering from the pandemic. I was still feeling nervous about getting sick and became a little controlling of the people around me. As I watched the other Hands4Hope leaders and our Club Mentor lead, it showed me that being controlling isn’t the best way to lead.

Hands4Hope has also helped me develop many leadership skills, and not just in the club, but in life. Now, if any of my friends are in a fight, I sometimes have to use leadership skills to navigate them to peace. Since starting with Hands4Hope, I also have started to make sure everyone is included and has a voice in things. It also has helped me focus on my grades and they have stayed up because I have been working hard. This organization taught me that hard work pays off. That is how Hands4Hope has changed my life and helped me for the better.

What would you tell someone who is considering joining Hands4Hope?

If someone wanted to join Hands4Hope, I would tell them that they really should. It is so enjoyable and it teaches you many skills. I have learned leadership skills and communication skills over only my two years of participation with Hands4Hope. In the future, I see myself still helping with events and putting in time to be involved and build my skills. The organization is very enjoyable.

What other activities do you enjoy?

Besides Hands4Hope, I enjoy many activities. I play competitive/travel volleyball, and love being on the team with my best friends. I love to hang out and have sleepovers with friends, watch movies, shop, and just lay back and read by the fire. One more thing about me is that I love to bake and cook. The best thing I made was macarons with a Nutella filling and a five tier chocolate raspberry tart. These were both for my dad’s birthday and his sweet tooth loved them.


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