For senior, Kelsey Pena, service has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. With a mother who was a social worker, she was continually reminded of her duty to serve her community. Throughout her youth, Pena was continually volunteering at shelters for people who are homeless or wrapping gifts for young children, but during her college career, her service has been exhibited most significantly through her continual mentoring. “I haven’t stopped mentoring,” explained Pena. Engaging in programs such as PeaceJam and FSU’s Youth Programs, Pena indeed has not stopped.
The mentoring project that has been most impactful for Pena has been her involvement with Project KICK (Kids in Cooperation with Kids). Project KICK is a mentoring program that is dedicated to preventing the interaction of youth with the justice system. The backbone of Project KICK is its nonviolent, anti-bullying, and tolerance based curriculum, which Kelsey has been teaching for over a year. During her time as a volunteer for this program, Pena has done everything from writing grant proposals and planning fund raisers, to helping develop and implement curriculum. She currently serves as the site coordinator for Project KICK at the Boys and Girls Club of America.
When asked about the most significant of the things that her collegiate service has taught her, Kelsey explained that she now knows that simply being yourself and interacting with youth can change their life. This service has significantly affected her plans for the future; Kelsey explained that she “always saw work as a way to give back.” She plans to attend Law School after graduation and eventually work to rectify the education inequalities in our country.
Written by: Amber Johnson