Claire Plath Interview by Larissa Chelius Nomination and Photography by Alicia Crosson Photography California Issue 18 | Volunteer
The Nomination: I am privileged to nominate one of my inspiring teens for this special opportunity! Claire is currently a sophomore in high school, on her school's tennis team, involved in various clubs, planning committees, and leadership teams through school and church. She is highly respected by her friends, classmates, and teachers. Claire also helps coach Cheer for younger girls in her community. One quality I would love to focus on in Claire is her kind, loving heart towards people of all different sizes, races, needs, and ethnicities. Claire volunteers her time during the summer to help assist those with special needs at a special needs camp. She has also participated as a "buddy" to guests with special needs for a National Prom Organization called Night to Shine, through the Tim Tebow Foundation. Claire truly radiates God's love and kindness to the world, and it would be so wonderful to see her being recognized in this way. Thank you so much for your consideration, and for providing this special opportunity for teens to be recognized with all of their wonderful characteristics and gifts to the world!
What was your experience at Night to Shine like?
My experience at Night to Shine was very unforgettable and heartwarming. It was amazing to be able to experience the pure joy my date felt as we spent the whole time dancing, singing, and laughing the night away. The friendship that I was able to build with my date at Night to Shine was so uplifting and special, and I hope to continue to volunteer every year!
Tell me a little bit about the various activities you do with those who have special needs.
Night to Shine is something I help out with every year and is an annual event for those with special needs where they get to experience their own prom by being paired with a volunteer for the night. It is a ministry that was founded by Tim Tebow a few years back, and now more than 655 churches across the world host it! It is put together to be exactly like a prom from red carpet, to limos, to dinner, to dancing, and last but not least, having all the guests crowned kings and queens of the prom!
Another activity I help with is the buddy program at my church, where volunteers are trained to be paired up with children who have special needs, so they are able to attend church while having a “buddy” with them for extra support.
Lastly, one of the biggest highlights of my life is attending Camp Barnabas. Camp Barnabas is a Christian camp in Missouri for those with special needs where they get to spend one full week paired up with a missionary and can share an amazing experience through fun and spiritual activities. Campers come from all over the U.S to attend, they look forward to it every year!
What does it mean to become a missionary in June for Camp Barnabas, and what do you do as a missionary? At Camp Barnabas, I was selected to be a missionary which is a buddy for a camper you are matched up with for that week. The role of a missionary begins with months of training and learning how to serve and be there for the campers in the ways that are needed. At camp, you are with your camper 23 hours a day, and with the role of a missionary comes great responsibility and patience. It is a physical, mental, and emotional rollercoaster while serving as a missionary, due to the complexity of needs a camper may have. Some campers may be nonverbal, while others may have serious physical limitations, but no matter who you are paired up with, the bond you build with your camper is truly life changing. My camper last summer was named Emily and she has been attending Camp Barnabas for years. After the week I spent with her, she became my dear best friend. Emily was the most patient, kind, compassionate, and encouraging person I had ever met. I was able to create a very close bond with her and after the week we spent together, we keep in touch! She will always hold a special place in my heart, as will all the memories and friendships made at Camp Barnabas.
What have you been able to learn by working with those who have special needs?
While working with special needs I have been able to learn to remain positive and patient through any trials I go through. The joy of being able to work with those with special needs has impacted my view on life greatly. I have learned to try to have a selfless attitude towards others, and to apply what I feel when I work with those who have special needs to my everyday life. They have taught me to find joy in every situation, and to be present in the moment which is something I will forever be grateful for.
Image by Dallas Hamm
Do you participate in any other community service projects, if so, what do you do?
I am involved in playing on the Varsity tennis team at my school, and I help coach Upward Cheer at my church for younger girls. I am a member of the Christian Club at my school, and I take photography and have grown to love it. Lastly, I am on the Student Leadership Committee for my church youth group where we plan upcoming events and lessons!
Claire will be featured in Issue 18 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!
Raina Saldivar Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination and Photography by Alicia Crosson Photography Issue 18 | Sports California
The Nomination: I am privileged to nominate Raina as an inspiring teen! In school, Raina is involved in year-round sports including basketball, softball, and golf. She is also involved in many clubs and is a part of student council. Raina is an amazing teen of many gifts and talents! Her hobbies include special effects makeup, woodcarving, wood burning, and painting. She also enjoys any community service projects that she can be a part of. I admire her love for family, friends, and life. Thank you so much for considering Raina as one of our amazing and inspiring teens!
Tell me about your sports you’re involved in. I’m a tri-sport athlete. I play golf, basketball and softball at my high school. I love being involved in sports because it helps me meet new friends, teaches me life lessons and good sportsmanship! Playing sports has taught me to think of others and be a better team player. One thing I’m most proud of is my ability to work hard and maintain a 4.0 GPA. I started playing sports year-round when I realized it also helped me focus better in school! I am dyslexic and playing sports has helped me have a quicker response time in my academics because it keeps my brain sharp and ready at all times!
How are you involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on your campus? I am the secretary for FCA on my high school campus. My job duties include getting guest speakers to come share their testimonies. It has been really cool because I get to work with many retired athletes and influential business owners who also share the same beliefs I do. I try my best to invite new students from our campus to join our monthly meetings so they can learn more about Jesus! One thing that is important to me is not to just say I’m a believer but to show it through my actions by loving others and being a positive role model. I have made amazing friends through FCA!
How did you become interested in special effects makeup? When I was 9, I had my makeup done for Halloween to represent a sugar skull style and I realized I could do amazing things with makeup! My dad and I go all out for Halloween on our costumes and special effects every year. This past year we had over 700 people come through our haunted house! I love seeing the kids happy when they get candy and they enjoy looking at all the displays we have set out. In particular, I love the gory zombie stuff and I always hand make my entire costume. Last year, I was Maleficent! For fun, I enjoy donating my time to local organizations to run the face painting booths to help bring in support for their cause.
Raina took this picture of the outfit she made!
What are your plans for the future? I want to attend a 4-year Christian College and I plan to get a business degree. I would like to open my own small business one day, but I haven’t decided what just yet. I’d probably like to open my small business in my home town so I can be involved in the community, give back to everyone that has supported me and live a kind, simple life. I am super proud of the community I am a part of!
Raina will be featured in Issue 18 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.