Harlyn Hogan - Arkansas Nomination by Rhonda Sylvester Photography by Kerri Hogan Issue39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Harlyn is an amazing young woman who has already volunteered more than 800 hours at the age of 16. Her project, Hunger Heroes, was designed to assist those with food insecurities in central Arkansas. She has held food drives, collected donations, and even planted a garden in her own yard so that people could have access to fresh vegetables. She volunteers at local hospitals, in her school and is very involved with the North Little Rock Mayor's Youth Council. She has collected donations to create Care Kits for homeless women and held a blanket drive. She is inspiring to us!
Photography by Ashley Cashman
I started volunteering when I was 12 years old at my dance studio by being a “dance buddy” for the iCan Dance Program which provides dance classes for children with disabilities. I now do most of my volunteering through the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council (NLRMYC). I have accumulated well over 750 hours of service in my community since becoming involved with the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council during my 9th grade year. I love helping those that are less fortunate and providing them with the little things that most of us take for granted. When giving of yourself to someone who truly has a need and seeing the sincere appreciation on their faces it makes my heart fill with pride in knowing that I can make a difference for people in our community.
The North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council was started in 1999. It is a community-based volunteer program run by a former school teacher named Jan Scholl. The program is for local high school students who are looking for volunteer opportunities. I learned of the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council from friends who had participated and from a few members of my soccer and cheer teams that were involved with the council. As a member of the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council you are required to have four hours of community service per month, and, as a senior, you have to create a project of your own. My favorite memory from the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council to date is my most recent project of providing an Easter for the children at the Dorcas House. The Dorcas House takes in and houses battered women and their children with the compassion of Christ. My sister, Revell, and I collected donations from our community by offering to fill and hide plastic Easter eggs for families in the community. We raised over $1000 dollars and filled over 800 eggs with candy, stickers, etc. Eleven other council members helped us play Easter Bunny the night before Easter by delivering and hiding the stuffed eggs for the 24 customers who donated to the cause. My sister and I also made Easter baskets for the children of the Dorcas House. The staff and families at the Dorcas House were so thankful when we dropped off the Easter baskets for the children. Showering these unfortunate children with gifts and an Easter surprise was so heartwarming. Also, the remaining funds raised from the Easter egg donations were given to an organization called the Smile Train. The money donated was used to perform corrective surgery for three children with cleft lips and pallets.
Photography by Kerri Hogan
I love starting my own projects and this is my main way of collecting my hours and volunteering because I love being a creative leader. I want to encourage others to start new projects in their community and bring people together for the better. I love to give back and this is one of the best ways I can. The project that I just started with the Mayor's Youth Council as an 11th grader is "Hunger Heroes''. I am collecting nonperishable food items for local food banks. I am in the middle of my project, so I do not have my results, but I am looking forward to donating over 1,000 cans(etc.) to my local Food Pantry by the end of October! I came up with this project because it was National Hunger Action and Awareness month in September and I wanted to help spread awareness. More than 200,000 children in Arkansas are at risk of hunger and not getting the food they need to live healthy, active lives. I love to start new projects and give to different and new programs for each project. Spreading my love and giving to different programs brings the community together more and expands my experiences and knowledge.
Photography by Ashley Cashman
I started my Small Home Garden over quarantine this spring. I have had lots of help from my parents, especially my mom, Kerri Hogan. I have not had the best of luck with it, but I am learning and the more I move things around the better it gets! I had one really big zucchini this summer that was my first big vegetable. I have lots of tomatoes and baby bell peppers growing now! I hope that I can keep learning and growing my garden even bigger to feed the hungry in my community. It needs lots of work, but it has grown tremendously since dirt!! I hope to encourage others to grow vegetables and fruits and start their own garden because our world needs it along with our community. Let’s save our health, the hungry, and our earth!
Photography by Melisa Smock
Volunteering in my community is worth my time because as much as I do for myself, I need to do as much or more in return for others who are less fortunate. I volunteer because it makes a difference. The more I volunteer, the more I learn and grow. I dedicate so much of my time to volunteering because it is a big part of my heart and what I love. Volunteering makes me feel more connected to others and become less absorbed in the stresses of my busy daily life. The experience is amazing, and I truly feel your actions define you. To date, I have earned 892 community service hours and my goal is over 1,000 by the time I graduate high school. I encourage everyone to take action and volunteer in your community!
Look for Harlyn in issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!