Rachel Sorenson

Rachel logged 53 hours in Red Cross Volunteer Connection with an additional 775 (that is not a typo) hours with other community non-profits in 2019. Rachel has been accepted to attend Brigham Young University. The following questions and responses are part of Rachel’s scholarship application.

Describe the service activities you have participated in during the last calendar year. Include all types of service and volunteer work done (Red Cross, community, school, home, etc.).

Last year, one of my primary goals was to serve individuals at school, at church, in my employment, in the community, and in the world. I served in school as a peer tutor holding tutoring sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. I served on AMES student council planning all school activities and community projects. I served at church as president of our youth group. I prepared agendas, conducted meetings, and planned weekly activities to help youth become more self-reliant. I served as the Disaster Preparedness Co-Chair of The American Red Cross Youth Services Program. My team installed smoke alarms, instructed families about fire prevention, and helped them create an action plan in the event of a disaster. I also served by teaching youth the importance of 72-hour kits containing items necessary to sustain families for a couple of days in an emergency. I enlisted their help spreading awareness, collecting supplies, assembling 72-hour kits, and distributing kits to families in need. I traveled to Tijuana, Mexico with the Builders Without Borders Organization and helped build three homes for families in need. In Mexico, I volunteered at an orphanage where I served meals, played games with the children, and tied quilts for orphans living there.

Explain how your volunteer service has made a difference in your school, community, family, etc. Please be specific and use examples of how your service has made an impact:

Last year I served on AMES student council and we organized several service projects to benefit the community. We organized a food drive for the Utah Food Bank to provide food for families in need for the holidays. We also raised money and collected food for the Cottonwood High School Food Bank which benefits the local AMES and Cottonwood communities. The money raised helped fund an after-school program where students from low-income households received food and access to a safe place after school. I participated in the Builders Without Borders Organization which benefited individuals and families in Tijuana, Mexico. We built three homes for families in need. I volunteered at an orphanage in Mexico where I served meals, played games with the children, and tied 23 quilts for orphans living there. Each of these experiences was very rewarding and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to serve those in need.

What issue(s) does your service address and why did you choose to get involved in this type of service?

I learned there was a lack of fire safety awareness and disaster preparedness in my community. My aim was to protect families from home fires and reduce home fire-related fatalities. I live in a low-income area where most homes do not have access to fire safety precautions. I committed to increasing fire safety awareness as I informed fellow citizens of programs which offered smoke detectors at no cost. I was nominated as a Co-Chair of The Red Cross Youth Services Program. We taught families about fire prevention and helped them create a vital action plan for their family in the event of a disaster. I involved youth in service as we spread awareness, collected items for 72-hour kits, assembled the kits, and distributed them to families in need. I chose to be involved with disaster preparedness programs because I want every individual and family in my community to have access to information and resources that will keep them alive and safe. My efforts literally save lives and that is very motivating and rewarding to me.

Describe the service activity that best demonstrates your leadership skills:

For two years I served as President of the youth group in my church. I sincerely cared for and tried to meet the individual needs of group members. I wanted to know how to best help them learn new skills and accomplish their goals. I reaffirmed that each was a valued member of our group. We found ways to invite and involve new members. We focused on helping youth become more self-reliant by planning activities that centered on college readiness which was the primary concern of the members. We learned how to fill out college applications and prepare for ACT and SAT exams. We learned how to apply for scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and found additional resources available to help fund our education. I represented the youth and effectively communicated our needs, opinions, and concerns to adult leaders. I delegated responsibilities and made assignments within these councils. From these experiences, I have learned to appreciate diversity and value others’ points of view. I can acknowledge different opinions without compromising my own. 

How will this scholarship help you fund your education and help attain your post-high school educational and career goals? Please explain what those goals are:

For the last two years I have participated in the Future Doctors program at the University of Utah. I attended monthly lectures on various medical specialties combined with hands-on labs and dissections. This experience sparked my interest in the medical field. I decided to pursue a career in nursing because it will allow me to fulfill my personal goal of raising a family while enjoying a challenging and rewarding medical career. My professional goal is to become a nurse practitioner. To achieve this, I need to further my education and gain clinical skills and experience. BYU offers incredible resources including a fully equipped Nursing Learning Center with audiovisual and computer learning aides, as well as a research center, and a state-of-the-art clinical simulation laboratory. This scholarship will allow me to take advantage of these opportunities. It will significantly help supplement the increasing costs of tuition and books and will allow me to meet my goals to further my education.