In 2012, I was nominated to be a delegate at the Lone Star Leadership Academy. I raised the money needed and participated in the LSLA Houston/Galveston camp. Continuing in the LSLA Alumni Council, I was encouraged to get involved in my school and community. After my freshman year, I returned to the LSLA - Houston/Galveston camp as a Youth Facilitator. That experience was the turning point which gave me the confidence and developed my leadership skills needed to serve others. My community service involvement includes Wounded Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald House, Keep Sevier Beautiful, and Sevier County Food Ministries.
While volunteering for the food ministries, I heard many of our “Neighbors” requesting personal care products. Since we don’t provide those items, I felt compelled to get involved and developed my foundation, Project Neighbor Tree - “Branching out to those in need.”
Creating a GoFundMe page generated funds which were used to purchase soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and toilet paper. I contacted community leaders, businesses, and school clubs for monetary and product donations. As President of the Keep Sevier Beautiful Teen Board, I notified Keep America Beautiful, who donated 500 tote bags. Members of KSB and the KSB Teen Board helped fill the bags with personal care products for distribution in May 2016.
Recently, wildfires swept through Sevier County and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Again, I found the need to reach out to the families who lost everything. By using a Project Neighbor Tree/Tennessee Wildfires Relief GoFundMe page and coordinating a group of students, we purchased and packed 125 tote bags with personal care products. The Red Cross was instrumental in delivering the bags to the families staying at the temporary shelter.
By serving on the “Fire Relief Committee” with students, staff, and administrators I will continue supporting our school families who have been affected by these devastating wildfires. Photo Gallery.
Kollin is now a high school senior. He first attended the Lone Star Leadership Academy - Houston/Galveston camp in 2012. Even though Kollin moved from Texas to Tennessee in 2014, he has continued his membership in the LSLA Alumni Council throughout his high school career. Kudos to this outstanding young leader!