(This article was originally posted on March 24th, 2015 on nylc.org.)
Sarah Gunderson, a high school sophomore at Breck School in Golden Valley, MN, has a heart filled with the passion to serve, “spreading service-learning and helping others are the first activities that I’ve done that have truly meant something to me. Nothing has lit such a bright and sustaining spark inside of me like serving others.” She also has a deep-seated belief in the power of youth, “I know that together, the youth of today can do great things, and I’m honored to be doing great things with the YAC.”
Sarah’s volunteer and service experiences are broad. She serves on the Breck School Service Council, which advocates for and enacts initiatives centered on service-learning and works to better the Breck community at-large. She volunteered at PICA Headstart in Minneapolis, MN, working with young Spanish-speaking children to improve their English language skills as well as supporting the professional instructors in-house. In 2013, she spoke in front of thousands of youth at the 2013 We Day Minnesota about a Halloween food drive that provided for the hungry in her local community. These varied experiences have taught Sarah unique skills that she can bring to the YAC.
“I am not afraid to speak my opinion, but am able to do so in a respectful manner that conveys what I believe without putting down the ideas of others. I am also very comfortable speaking in front of people, be it a one-on-one conversation or one in front of 18,000 people.”
As a part of the YAC, Sarah desires “to take the forgotten and unheard opinions of youth and help find a way to turn them into something concrete.” She also is driven to continue the tradition of the YAC to study, examine, and address the Achievement Gap, to bolster opportunities for true educational equity. These opportunities, though they may begin on a local scale, Sarah sees a grander vision for.
“I think that the solutions that the YAC implement are not only important to local communities; a goal of mine is to help improve the lives of other locally and nationally.” Nuanced, thoughtful understandings of social challenges – both subtle and otherwise – are a hallmark of the passionate youth on the YAC; and Sarah is no exception.
Said Gunderson, “I am a passionate, dedicated, and persistent person. If a solution to a problem doesn’t seem apparent, I won’t rest until I have come up with something.”