Kyra Powers Recognized for Volunteer Service
By Angelina Hue ’16
Kyra Powers ’14 met an angel, or at least a 10-year-old girl named Angel, who told the SI junior a story she will never forget. Powers, 16, who received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in March, met Angel through Today’s Youth Matters in San Francisco, where she learned that the girl needed a guardian angel of her own.
Angel suffered a tragic event at 7 when the house she shared with her extended family burned down, resulting in the loss of all of her belongings and a series of journeys from one home to another until she finally ended up in the care of her grandmother.
Powers recalled the touching story of Angel, noting that it made her feel grateful that a girl she just met would tell her such a personal experience. “I was honored to be trusted by this young girl,” she noted. “I also suffered a house fire at a young age and this story really made me think about how under different circumstances, I could have experienced a similar childhood to Angel.”
Powers earned her award by devoting her time to help children at the Mission YMCA and spending time with foster children through TYM. In all, she spent 323 hours doing community service work through SI, more than three times the amount the school requires.
When Powers is not baking pastries – one of her favorite pastimes – or competing in swim meets, she volunteers not for recognition but because she loves children. An experienced babysitter, she chooses activities that allowed her to work with children in need of love, care and understading.
SI was so impressed by her work that Patrick Ruff nominated her for the honor she received. Powers, in turn, was impressed by Angel’s story, which is one she will always remember.
Prudential Financial, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, gave Powers the Prudential Spirit Award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. More than 370,000 young people across America have been considered for these awards since the program began in 1995.
“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities," said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “In recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer service activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”
Powers also spent 200 hours working at Mission YMCA as a teacher’s aid for two summers, an experience she enjoyed, as she worked with students whose parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and China. The program offered classes and free meals. “I fell in love with my classroom of children. It made my day when the children chimed, ‘Good morning Miss Kyra!’ It gave me a yearning me a yearning to work with children in a career.
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