Lequay Willis awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award

Lequay Willis awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award

Chelsea Havko

    About a month ago, senior Lequay Willis was called down to Mr. Price’s office, where she was presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The PSVA program sent Willis’s certificate, signed by the President, to the school, recognizing her for her community service.

   The PVSA is awarded to US citizens who do an exceptional amount of volunteer service in their communities. To be eligible for this award, recipients must show initiative, effort, growth and leadership. They have to make an impact in their community and gain skills by working with others.  They also have to write an essay and serve a designated number of community service hours.

   The number of hours required to get the award is determined by age. There are five age groups: kids, teens, young adults, adults, and families and groups. The awards are offered in 3 levels, bronze, silver, and gold, depending on how many hours are served.  (See chart below).

   Willis was awarded the bronze level for young adults (100-174 hours of community service), and was recognized as a local honoree.  

   Willis’s mother works for AIU Sto-Rox Family Center, which “helps families to help themselves by providing the resources they need to be strong.” Willis has been going to volunteer at her mother’s work since seventh grade, when her old school required 20 hours to graduate. She liked it a lot and has continued with it ever since. At AIU, Willis babysits kids, serves food to families at Christmas, works at food banks, and helps with food drives. She mostly works with the kids, and helps supervise them on field trips during the summer. AIU has taken the kids on field trips to the zoo, Laurel Caverns, and other places around Pittsburgh.

   “I know people struggle, and I want to make the world a better place. If I can just change someone’s night or their week and make it a little bit better, then I’m happy. I like to see people smile,” Willis said.  

   One of the hardest things for Willis is trying to fit volunteering in her schedule. Besides school, she also has a job and is a black belt in karate. Willis’s only off days are Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that’s when she goes to her mom’s work and does most of her community service.

   Willis is planning on continuing her community service through college. She’s going to Penn State to major in forensic science; she’s planning on starting a club focused on volunteering if Penn State doesn’t already have one. 

   Willis commented, “I think getting the award has helped prepare me for college because it proves I can communicate with people. It also shows that I think of others, and not just myself, which I think is really important in forensic science.”

I am a veteran English teacher of 34 years, and I teach AP Literature and Composition, English 11, SAT Prep, and Digital Media.

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