Community service is such a huge part of my life, and no words could ever truly describe the way it makes me feel or the ways in which it has impacted me over the years. Recently, I was very lucky to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House in recognition of my community service. Honestly, I’m at a loss for the right words. It is truly my passion and it has been ever since I began to volunteer with Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) when I was only 12 years old. It was the summer before seventh grade, and I was the youngest volunteer with YVC; 12 was the absolute minimum age, and I was only allowed to do one project that summer. It completely changed my outlook on life, which at twelve isn’t saying too much, but still, I had found something that I loved, and still do.
There are currently over thirty YVC affiliates spreading across the United States and Canada, including two in Louisiana. Working with YVC entails signing up for different projects that range from counseling kids at camps where they learn about things like safety and history, spending the day with elderly dementia patients, planting community gardens, painting murals, and so much more. In groups of about ten youth volunteers, we go out into the community and focus on making a difference and reflecting on our impact.
with the people who actually make decisions concerning YVC, help them with new ideas and planning, and make my dreams for YVC become a reality. It has been really great also because I’ve held various leadership positions within the Board which has helped me to not only get more of a say, but to really work on my leadership skills and hone those talents that I will possibly need next year in college. Being on YAB has mostly prepared me for this year, though, when I was very fortunate and honored to get chosen to be a member of the International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB) which you apply for in the early spring. Usually only one, possibly two, members from each regional affiliate gets to be a member. This year’s IYAB only has about twenty-eight members, so I was very lucky, and now I get to help make decisions concerning YVC on an international scale, not just in Baton Rouge.
YVC has not only allowed me to do something I love and am passionate about, but it has helped my grow as a person, develop skills that will be useful in college and in my adult life, and has given me so many friendships that I know will last long after the youth of Youth Volunteer Corps has run out. Also thanks to the confidence I have gained from both YAB and IYAB I took more risks and steps at school with my service; I was a Thrive tutor for my freshmen year, and I did organize a small event then, too, but every year since, I have been taking a bigger and bigger step to bring my passion to Episcopal. It’s hard, sometimes, to look around and see all that we are blessed with and believe that we don’t all give back. We are all so privileged and have so much. We are all able-bodied and minded, and there are so many people in the world, in our city, who have so little. It really is our duty to help them in any and every way we can. I truly believe that. Every day, I strive to help as many people as I can, in any way I can. That’s why I’ve loved bringing my passion for service to Episcopal. To see my teachers, friends, and peers getting involved and giving back is so amazing. It makes my love for it grow tenfold.
Overall, I have tried my hardest to do everything I absolutely can as an eighteen year old. I hope that as I get older, I can find a way to dedicate my life even more to service. It truly is my passion. I love it, and it brings me so much joy and happiness. I never feel more fulfilled than when I am helping other people. This award truly was a great surprise and honor to receive, but it has never and will never be about the recognition or awards. The feeling of knowing that I am doing everything I can to help others is the best award I could ever be given.
Kaci Wilson will graduate from Episcopal this May. During her time at the school, she has committed herself to serving others. Recently, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her continued volunteer efforts. This fall, Kaci will attend LSU to pursue a degree in psychology. In addition, she plans to serve a term in the Peace Corps.