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Spotlight of the Week: Julia Karten

Board member of PC's Achieve Miami community service organization

Julia+spends+time+with+two+of+her+buddies+at+Achieve+Miami.+
Julia spends time with two of her buddies at Achieve Miami.

Julia spends time with two of her buddies at Achieve Miami.

Julia spends time with two of her buddies at Achieve Miami.

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This week, Type One sat down with junior Julia Karten to discuss her extensive involvement with Achieve Miami, an organization that works to extend school days and hours for children in Miami in order to provide them with maximum learning opportunities. Julia shares her personal experiences with bringing Achieve Miami to Pine Crest and gives advice to other students who are interested in finding community service that they would like to dedicate themselves to.

 

T1: What was the inspiration behind your desire to work with Achieve Miami? Was it a specific experience or a gradual shift in your mindset that resulted in your involvement with community service?

JK: Ever since I was young, I have always been drawn to helping my community in every way possible. When I entered high school and first learned about what Achieve Miami was, I initially decided to attend a Saturday session to see the type of work being done. After that one morning spent with the kids, I knew that this was going to be something I would dedicate part of my life to. Ever since, I have been doing everything I can to spread the word about this amazing and inspirational organization in order to showcase just how special the work being done here is. I have become inspired to help our underserved community in order to bridge the educational gap that has developed over time. I have learned that there is nothing more beneficial and important than giving back to those who are not as fortunate as I am, and that is why I continue to partake in everything Achieve Miami has to offer.

 

T1: How has your involvement in community service impacted you as a person?

JK: Serving as a teacher, mentor, and leader at Achieve Miami, I have learned that every action and statement can influence someone’s life substantially. It has also taught me that leading by example is the best way to model behavior. Through all my work with the organization, I have learned to exhibit compassion and patience, skills that I had yet to fully master previously.

 

T1: What activities are involved in your work with Achieve Miami?

JK: My service began freshman year as a “Big Buddy”, where I would spend time with third through fifth graders doing homework, playing games, and serving as a mentor.  I do this twice a month on Saturday mornings, and I also help out with drives and other initiatives throughout the year. After spending time with my buddies, and after seeing how engaged and motivated they were to succeed, I decided to propose a program to offer them an opportunity that they would have never been exposed to otherwise: a summer dance camp. I spent numerous hours researching and writing a program to incorporate dance into their 4-week summer camp.   My goal was to expose these young students to a variety of dance forms, and I was charged with running and staffing the entire effort through volunteer support. I will continue to enact this dance program in summers to come, and I am already starting to plan and recruit for this upcoming June.

 

T1: What are your future plans regarding community service? Do you want to continue to work with Achieve Miami, or perhaps expand your horizons to more global service opportunities?

JK: I plan on continuing my work with Achieve Miami. I will remain volunteering on Saturdays, throughout the summer via my dance camp, and on projects and drives for the benefit of the students. As of now, I will continue to do everything in my power for the betterment of the organization that has supported me in all my initiatives.

 

T1: What is your favorite part about working with Achieve Miami? Why?

JK: My favorite part about working with Achieve Miami is the influence I am able to make in the lives of our underserved community. The smallest of actions make the largest impact on me, and I know I am able to make substantial contributions to the lives of the children I work with.

 

T1: How can students at Pine Crest get involved in your efforts to work with Achieve Miami, and what kinds of activities does the club participate in?

JK: Achieve Miami hosts “Big Buddy Saturday Sessions” twice a month at the Miami location where Pine Crest attends. Through a quick online application, anyone who is interested in getting involved with the organization is encouraged to do so. I have had the privilege to generate a summer dance program for these kids as well. If anyone is interested in volunteering with me this summer, they can reach out to me directly for more information and direction at [email protected].

 

T1: What is your mission in having students at Pine Crest become involved with Achieve Miami?

JK: My goal is to spread awareness about what Achieve Miami is. Once someone knows exactly what the organization entails, it will not be long until they want to become part of all that they do.  My mission is to recruit more students to read and write with the kids on Saturdays, encourage people to help out with Achieve’s summer camp (something that would be out of reach if it were not for volunteer support), and to overall encourage students to make a difference in their community, even if it may not be with the particular institution that I have learned to love.

 

T1: What advice do you have for students who want to start their own community service programs?

JK: If you want to start your own community service program, go for it and give it your all. If you have a passion for a program that is not already implemented, it is almost guaranteed that others will stand by your side and fight along your side. Service programs influence the lives of so many people in the largest ways, and no matter how big or how small the initiative might be, you will be making a huge impact in your community.

 

There is no doubt that Julia feels passionate about her involvement with Achieve Miami, for she has gone above and beyond to help give back to her community in myriad ways. Her dedication to the organization reveals her true passions in life, and we are excited to see how Pine Crest students like Julia continue to make their mark on the South Florida community.

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Spotlight of the Week: Julia Karten