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Beyond YGL: An Open Mind & Willing Heart

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Author Laura Whitaker (second from left) catches up with her fellow YGL alum in Boulder!

This post is part of the series “Beyond YGL,” where we learn how alumni of our Youth Global Leadership program are creating positive change locally and globally! 

I came to YGL on a whim, a little late in the game, and with no idea what to expect. A special shout-out goes to Rachel Moline for introducing me to what would be, and still is, a wonderful experience and a great group of young women. For me, high school, with its ups and downs, was never the most nurturing environment for personal growth and opportunities to learn about oneself. I found that in Philanthropiece’s Youth Global Leadership Program.

With the start of college I was a little hesitant to get involved with non-profits, volunteer or even meet new people. I had moved over 800 miles away from everything and everybody I knew, and was using up all my energy socializing on campus. I soon, however, was introduced to a group that does art with autistic young adults. I found myself returning week after week making close friends, learning more about a topic I knew little about and creating art along the way (find out more about the program at here).  I felt right at home, and I have YGL’s experiences to thank for teaching me to carry an open mind and willing heart wherever I go.

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Students at St. Olaf work with the A+ Art Club

Second semester came before I knew it and I was again graced with the amazing opportunity to get involved in the community. I spent my weekends at local farmer’s markets and fairs with Budding Farmer’s Inc. as part of an internship. Being a new business, I helped the husband and wife team as they furthered their passion of bringing agricultural education to kids (you can read a little bit about them here).

As summer comes to an end and another school year starts I encourage you (as well as myself) to take steps towards finding a passion and getting involved in the world we live in. Who knows what you’ll find next!

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 Laura Whitaker graduated from Fairview High School in 2012. She currently is a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN where she is studying Studio Art with a concentration in Management Studies.

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