How did you earn The Congressional Award?
The Congressional Award Program inspired me to take action in my community to have a positive impact and achieve specific goals. I also expanded my interests and developed many new skills.
VPS: For voluntary public service, I focused on three important initiatives. (a) Since I am passionate about spreading awareness of neurodiversity and learning differences, I provided education about these topics for teachers, school staff, and peers through interactive community workshops. I also created a toolkit with resources for high school students across the country to enable other teens to create a neurodiversity affinity group and educational workshops for their community. (b) I am dedicated to social entrepreneurship having founded my own nonprofit bakery at age 12. With my own business established, I began to find ways to support other young entrepreneurs. For example, I regularly host children’s business fairs, providing a one-day marketplace for kid entrepreneurs ages 6-14 to showcase their products and services. In between fairs, I provide free consulting sessions and informational workshops for kids on topics such as creating a business plan, developing a marketing strategy, and perfecting your pitch. I am thrilled to have hosted 125+ kid entrepreneurs at fairs over the last few years with my next fair coming up in May 2023. Working with kid entrepreneurs is so rewarding and helps me to expand my own business and communication skills. (c) I volunteered at the KID Museum assisting kids with hands-on STEM and art activities.
PD: For personal development, I expanded my dance education and competed in beauty pageants. I have been dancing since I was 3 years old, but while working towards my Congressional Award, I really pushed myself to try new styles of dances as well as new dance moves! To further develop my stage presence and communication skills, I competed in pageants. Through pageants, I have made a new circle of friends and feel more poised and confident. I have also developed a pageant platform that is meaningful to me.
PF: For personal fitness, most of my activities were at home due to Covid-19. I was creative and took advantage of my surroundings. I regularly did stationary bike and core workouts in my basement!
EXP: Although I couldn’t travel for my expedition due to Covid-19, I had tons of fun with my virtual expedition to Japan! I took a deep dive into learning the history of the country and specific landmarks and traditions. Since I am interested in hospitality and restaurant management, I even investigated culinary experiences and the history of certain Japanese foods. I’m excited that I will now be able to travel to Japan this spring. I plan to rely on my research from the virtual expedition to develop my itinerary for this trip!
What are your current ambitions?
My goal is to further develop the skills and interests that I explored through the Congressional Award. I am continuing my neurodiversity work in my local community. I am also expanding my work with young entrepreneurs, as I teach more kids in my community about entrepreneurship and provide one-on-one advice and mentorship on starting their own ventures. I am currently a junior in high school and will soon begin the college search process. I plan to attend a college or university where I can major in business and innovative entrepreneurship with a special interest in the field of hospitality management.
Where do you find your motivation?
I am a positive and outgoing person. I am internally motivated by a desire to have a positive impact on my community. I believe that it is important to respect and value everyone and to be a good friend. I feel grateful for the experiences and opportunities that I have had, and I intend to continue to learn and grow.