Too often I hear people talking about teenagers being impatient, loud and even irresponsible. I never thought these stereotypes were fair and I feel more strongly about it now than ever before. After coordinating the United Way Student Service Awards for the first time this year, I am thrilled to finally have a way to prove wrong all of the people who doubt the good in teenagers.
Reading through the twenty-nine nominations of high school students from Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Nelson and Fluvanna, I was amazed and humbled by the creativity, dedication and hard work of these students. Ranging from freshmen in high school to seniors, these students are shining examples of what teenagers are capable of and the impact that their age group is making on our community everyday.
Imagine being just seventeen years old and risking your life each day to respond to emergency calls at the fire department. Imagine at eighteen years old that you have in four years contributed over 700 hours of volunteer service. Imagine founding a nonprofit that collects food across the country for those in need. Imagine spending spring break or summer vacation on mission trips, volunteering at a special needs camp, working with animals at the SPCA or fundraising for a national organization.
These students prove common stereotypes of teenagers wrong. They are not impatient, but are working patiently to see positive change in our community. They are not loud, but are volunteering quietly in our neighborhoods without seeking recognition for their service. They are not irresponsible, but are fulfilling a responsibility that we all have to contribute to our local community to help those in need.
To learn about last year's United Way Student Service Award Recipients, click here to read a feature story in AlbemarleFamily Magazine.
I am excited and confident knowing that people like these twenty-nine high school students will be the school teachers, public safety officers, nonprofit leaders and government officials of the future. I hope that they continue to prove the stereotypes of young people wrong and continue to make an impact on the community as they finish high school, go to college and begin their careers after school.
Congratulations to the recipients and nominees of the 2010-2011 United Way Student Service Awards! If you would like to learn more about these outstanding teens, please attend our awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m. at The Sanctuary at The Haven at First and Market Streets, downtown Charlottesville.
Posted by Jessica Snyder, United Way Volunteer Center Director
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