The prize of giving back: Life as a student leader

All around the world, people have been plagued with hardships and tribulations. However, hope peaks through the darkest time when people decide to give back to their communities. 

Student leaders Ryan Jackson and Winter Brinegar have devoted their time to giving back. From establishing their own charity, to leading a service-based club, these two have truly shown that generosity is not just a thing of the past.

Leadership comes in many shapes and forms, through different extracurriculars and acts of service. However, both Winter and Ryan dedicate their opportunities to community support.

“I have always thought that community was more than just the land itself; it’s the people,” says junior Ryan Jackson.  “A community is people who share land close together, and hopefully are willing to help and support each other.”

Being a part of a four-person team that provides bedding and comfort for those who cannot afford it, Ryan’s vision of leadership is showcased through his involvement with BedHeads. 

“The outlet that actually got me into BedHeads was a middle school program called STLP (Student Technology Leadership Program), where Joby Mitmesser, Christian Ison, Clay Turley, and I all were tasked with creating a community service project for a grade,” says Ryan. “But community service helped me understand more about myself, and also helped me become a lot more humble. “

Winter has also learned a lot through her experiences with service. Through sports, FFA, and 4-H, Winter has gained insight that lets her be a leader in every outlet.

“I do truly believe that serving others and our community through volunteering has made me a better person,” says Winter. “It is through these organizations that I am a part of that I have built the leadership skills I obtain today.”

Extracurriculars and community projects are a great way to develop leadership skills. However, the benefits from volunteering are not limited to benefiting just one person or club.

“The biggest reward of volunteering is knowing that my time, support, and effort is making a difference for someone in my community,” says Winter.

The role of leadership isn’t limited to just one person. Anyone can make a difference, no matter how young or how much influence you have.

“Be open to new possibilities,” says Ryan. “ Lay out what you are trying to accomplish with your service, and if you don’t meet that goal, be willing to try something new.”

The sky’s the limit to what you can do when giving back. Don’t be afraid to take the first step in pursuit to become a leader. 

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