Community service throughout my youth and into adulthood has made me a more honest and compassionate woman. The Boys & Girls Club has played a key part in shaping the person I am today. When I first started attending the Club in the 7th grade, I found a place of solace. I finally had a place where I felt that I could be the one in control of my life, and there were people there who appreciated me and saw my potential even when I could not see it myself. Volunteering with the Club stemmed the beginning of my interest in working with non-profit organizations.

Acting as a role model to other members has improved my self-confidence and my ability to relate and connect with others. My inclination and desire to participate in programs has taught me to be accountable and innovative. I have always loved the programs offered at the Club. From the programs on college readiness, to science, art, and leadership. I was the president of the leadership program, Keystone, which is equivalent to a student body.

Within Keystone we also got the incredible opportunity to work with the American Lung Association and California Health Collaborative. We worked together for two years in order to pass a bill to make parks and business entryways smoke free in our hometown of Paradise. We picked up cigarette butts in parks, we attended town council meetings, we advocated for our cause, and with every challenge we learned to problem solve and adapt. Passing this bill was a significant and positive impact I made on my community. I learned how to be diligent, patient, and I learned about how local government operates. Playing a part in improving my community gave me a passion for helping others and for this I am extremely grateful.

In the past few months Butte County has been through traumatic and painful experience. I have lived in Paradise my entire life and I am in the process of grieving and moving on from the life that I had prior. I understand things will never be the same, but I am trying to stay hopeful for what’s to come. In terms of my education and home life this has been an unforeseen and unprecedented event that has made for quite a challenge. Without a home to live in, my family is displaced and scattered. I am living with both my grandparents in Hamilton City and at a friend’s apartment in Chico. The Bridge to College Scholarship through the Boys & Girls Club would greatly help me in paying for housing, food, and toiletries. My commute to school is also much farther than before and it would help pay for gas as well. Continuing my education is something that’s very important to me and I know it takes great strength and dedication to overcome adversity. I am grateful for the immense support and love I have witnessed in my community and I hope in my lifetime to continue paying it forward to those in need.