The importance of youth volunteering is worth noting.
Young people who volunteer regularly practice skills like collaboration and problem solving. They build relationships and strengthen their support network. Volunteering provides the opportunity to work through real challenges and make meaningful change. Young people who volunteer regularly develop civic identity as leaders and changemakers.
Kyle Abrahm, an upcoming senior at Denver South High School, is one of those leaders and changemakers. The Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award Committee recently honored Abrahm for his extraordinary volunteer efforts.
Abrahm, one of the youngest recipients of the award, was nominated for his work as one of the founders of Generation Ocean. Generation Ocean is a group of passionate young people who advocate for change. They lead river and park cleanups, campaign to educate locals about the alternatives to single use plastics and take expeditions abroad to participate in coral restoration, citizen science and research projects.
When Abrahm was 12, he became scuba certified and had an internship at Denver Divers. Inspired by a scuba research trip in Cuba, he and some older high school students approached Denver Divers about starting a nonprofit with a focus on environmental conservation and climate change. As a founding member, Abrahm helped to establish the vision, mission and the goals of Generation Ocean. As the student representative on its board of directors, Abrahm takes on the responsibility of ensuring those objectives are met.
In addition to his volunteer efforts with Generation Ocean, Abrahm volunteers with the South High School Food Pantry. Abrahm would spend his lunch hour helping unload and unpack food deliveries, and volunteered every Wednesday as the coordinator for the Student Senate volunteers, which entailed scheduling and making sure the bases were always covered. Abrahm spent more than 20 hours each month making certain that the Food Pantry was a success and ensuring that families did not go hungry. During these challenging times, Abrahm has continued packing food boxes in the mobile pantry for families in need.
Abrahm also coordinated three blood drives at South High in the past two years. He recruited donors, helped with the set up and break-down of the events, organized snacks and water for donors and worked closely with the phlebotomists to make sure the drives were successful. Kyle coordinated nearly 40 donors at each event, constituting 120 donations and helped to save hundreds of lives.
“Kyle is one of the most natural leaders that I have come across in my twenty years of teaching,” said Jason Brookes, Denver South High School’s director of activities and student leadership. “He is an exemplary citizen in-and-out of the classroom, and is respected by his peers, teachers, coaches, advisers and administrators. He is intelligent, enthusiastic, creative, well spoken, entertaining and dedicated to making Denver South High School and the surrounding community the best it can be.”
In addition to his volunteer activities, Abrahm is a talented athlete, playing both tennis and lacrosse for South High.
Above everything else, Abrahm continues to do all of this while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 5.129 and is currently ranked first in his graduating class of 2021.
Abrahm’s integrity, passion and leadership make him the epitome of the next generation of volunteers and a most-worthy candidate for the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award.
Cindy Piggott is the chairperson of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award Committee.
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