Our Youngest Volunteer Makes a Big Impact
Katherine is an international student from Vietnam boarding at the George School in Philadelphia, Pa. While there, she competed for the Andrew Bourns Social Justice Student Grant and was one of two students selected to make a difference. The purpose of the Student Grant is to enable George School students to experience “life” in the city and to work on social justice in the inner cities in the United States. How fortunate we were Katherine chose Oakland, and more specifically, Project Pride, to let her light shine.
There were some aspects of Katherine’s project that proved too complicated given the timeline and staffing, but that didn’t deter her. Katherine was a quick study, wise observer, and mature beyond her 16 years. She dove right in and helped the moms and staff in our Child Enrichment Center and began tackling small projects, like organization. Soon, she tackled larger ones, like selecting and purchasing storage containers, art supplies and crafts. She worked every day in the CEC alongside residents and their children and was friendly, funny and well liked. It’s hard to say what her biggest contribution (other than a constant smile) was; really, in one month she accomplished a lot. The last gift she was most proud of was the mural she painted in the CEC bathroom. She said she was really nervous because she had never painted a room before. She didn’t let fear stand in her way and she just started painting.
Katherine transformed a windowless, small bathroom into a cheery, bright space. The impact this had on the kids was immediately felt. Everyone wanted to come by to see it and the kids starting saying it was their favorite room. Katherine held a three year olds hand explaining what each animal and plant was. Katherine really embodied Quaker ideals of the George School, such as peace, equality, community, integrity. We already miss her and wish her the best in her very promising future.