Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Meaningful Service

Name: Holly Nance
From: Santa Ana, CA
Grade: Senior
School: Mater Dei High School
Votes: 0

Meaningful
Service

In
seventh grade, I began my journey as a community volunteer. I served
as the head of community outreach for my grade within the Assistance
League of Newport Mesa until my sophomore year of high school. This
title sounds important, but I soon realized that this did not fulfill
the need I had to serve my community. Our projects were trivial
throwing an Easter party for low income kids, giving puppet shows in
school, and simply passing time while working in the thrift store. I
soon realized that the girls I was working with did not care about
serving the community half as much as I did, and I needed a new
outlet for my community service. So I left the Assistance League in
search of something more fulfilling. After some research, I soon
found two organizations that fit my societal concerns: The Orange
County Equality Coalition (OCEC) and Girls Inc.

With
the OCEC, I began to do real work with a real impact. I became a
lobbyist and activist for Bill AB1266 aka “The Bathroom Bill”.
This bill was passed in California, but many school districts failed
to enforce the protection of transgender students. I started locally
and got into contact with my superintendent and pushed relentlessly
until he ensured the implementation of this bill. I then worked my
way through various school districts in my county and inspired a
ripple effect throughout Orange County. Being a sixteen year old
girl, it was nearly impossible to be taken seriously in this
atmosphere — I had to work twice as hard to get
half as far as someone older and with more credentials. My impact on
transgender students didn’t truly hit me until the Orange County
Equality Coalition awarded me with the “Excellence in Education
Award” and I was personally thanked for my contributions and
tireless work.

With
the Girls Inc. of Orange County, I helped empower girls by serving as
a role model within their summer program. I spent my summer this past
year at tennis practice from 6:00am-7:30am when I would then go to
summer advancement math classes from 8:00am-12:00pm and then to Girls
Inc. from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Mentally and physically, this was
exhausting. While implementing change with the OCEC was extremely
difficult, the strenuous schedule and tiresome work of that summer
was the hardest part of volunteering. However, earning the respect of
the kids at the camp and being able to mentor them was the most
gratifying feeling. It made every aching bone and early morning
completely worth it.

My
activities are both incredibly forward looking. Girls Inc. invests in
the futures of young girls while the OCEC ensures that social
reception to various issues are moving forward. I want to create a
world in which young girls are valued as important members of society
and where people are given basic dignities. I hope that my work with
the OCEC will continue to inspire others to demand the rights that
they deserve. Human rights will never become outdated, this is always
a pressing issue. Domestically and globally, the problem of equality
is one that needs more addressing.


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