A Group of Teenagers, Learning to Change the World
Adithi's Story - July 2016
“Everyone tells you that you can change the world, but no one ever tells you how to do it – that is what United Way Youth Division does,” 2015-2016 United Way Youth Division (UWYD) President Adithi Govindan told our board of directors last month. And Adithi would know.
She joined UWYD as a high school freshman when a senior classmate invited her to a meeting. At the time, Adithi was incredibly shy and timid, but as she got more involved, the program helped her “break out of her shell in the fun, friendly environment that UWYD encompasses.” Her experience is an important part of why we coordinate the program in partnership with the Lubbock Area United Way – to help high school students develop themselves and discover their purpose in the community.
When Adithi became UWYD President last summer, she was nervous about having to be up in front of the group of teenagers on a regular basis, leading meetings and encouraging members to get involved. Even speaking in front of a group of 10 people made her uncomfortable, but Adithi wanted to meet the challenge head on. She began meeting with our youth service coordinator on a semi-regular basis, learning from her how to be a better public speaker and developing into a stronger leader.
The result? Midway through the school year, this shy teenager stood up in front of a crowd of more than 400 people at the United Way Annual Meeting and shared her experiences with the crowd. She talked about volunteer projects the group did together and told the crowd that UWYD is “a chance for high school students to understand what takes place in a community and to inspire them to take this mentality and involvement with them as a part of who they are.” Later in the year, Adithi took on an even bigger challenge at our Celebration of Service luncheon when she shared about UWYD in front of 325 of her peers.
Thanks in large part to her outstanding leadership, UWYD members served 1,308 hours during the 2015-2016 school year.
Over the last four years, Adithi has learned how to change the world by being involved where she is. It’s a lesson she’ll take with her to Emory University in the fall.
We’re incredibly proud of Adithi and all of her fellow youth division members. They know how to change the world, and they’re out there doing it. Our community, our city, our world are all better for it.