KHS senior's volunteerism is her way of thanking God
Dec 27, 2011 (Menafn - Kokomo Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Glenda Hernandez has had two "aha" moments in her life, reminding her of how fortunate she is.
The first came when she visited her extended family in Honduras, and saw the poverty her parents left behind when they immigrated to the United States when she was 2 years old.
The second came on a mission trip to New Orleans in April 2011, where she saw how Hurricane Katrina had destroyed poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and how little residents had even years later.
Those moments confirmed her decision that she needed to give back as a community volunteer.
Hernandez, 17, a senior at Kokomo High School, first started volunteering through the TechnoKats robotics team and the Future Business Leaders of America. Both activities encourage volunteerism. She joined the clubs after moving to Kokomo just before her freshman year.
During the Christmas season, she worked Christmas Day and Christmas Eve at the Favors' Christmas dinner, wrapped gifts for the Mental Health America Gift Lift, helped decorate a nursing home and went caroling at another nursing facility.
She also serves food at the Kokomo Rescue Mission and assists with social events for Mental Health America clients, in addition to volunteering for Kokomo Urban Outreach and teaching children's worship classes at Center Road Church of Christ.
Hernandez does all of this in addition to an internship at AndyMark Inc., working as a paid tutor and being a part-time office assistant at Kokomo Chiropractic. She is working on an academic honors diploma as well.
Hernandez said her jobs are important, because she pays her own expenses. If the TechnoKats travel, she pays for her trip, and during the summer, she paid her own way to Germany. She is also responsible for paying for college. She plans to study electrical engineering at either Purdue or Kettering universities. She recently received the inaugural Arthur Anderson scholarship, given in honor of long-time TechnoKats mentor Art Anderson, who was killed while walking the Nickel Plate Trail this year.
Even with all the work, she said it is important to give back, especially with her Honduran culture.
Even though "when you go to Honduras, you volunteer for the Hondurans," she said the people in her family's village help each other.
"Even though you are not financially set, you will go out of your way to help others."
Hernandez said her volunteerism is a way for her to give back for all she's been given.
"Because God has blessed me with so many things, I have to give back. It's my way of giving thanks. Everyone is so nice in this town."
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