Students Giving Back

Maya Levine

December is here and the holiday season is upon us. Whether you love the holiday bliss or are, as Buddy the Elf would say, “a cotton headed ninny muggins,” you can’t deny the cheery faces of the daycare children writing their letters to Santa, and searching for their Elf on the Shelf (or, if they are Jewish, Mensch on the Bench).


While everyone celebrates their holidays differently, a few Park City High School students are going out of their way to make sure the holidays run smoothly for our local Park City companies. Below, six students were recognized for their dedication towards helping nonprofits and our community.


Adam Herbst: Planned Parenthood and Teen Council

Nominated from Planned Parenthood and Teen Council is senior Adam Herbst. Dalia Gonzalez, one of the Summit and Wasatch county Teen Council facilitators enthusiastically shared how “Adam has been an integral part” of Planned Parenthood and Teen Council.


Ms. Gonzalez stated through email that Adam has not only volunteered for Teen Council for almost two years, but is also an advocate for “sexual consent and prevention, racism and microaggressions, IPV and domestic violence, mental health awareness, and sexual assault awareness.” She expressed her gratitude towards Adam “Last year, Adam participated in 113.25 hours of education and training and this year has not missed one training meeting and has already participated in several community events with Planned Parenthood.”


Sheccid Villanueva and Natalie Haerter: The Christian Center

The Christian Center has nominated two girls for their dedication and maturity: freshman Sheccid Villanueva and senior Natalie Haerter. They have become regular volunteers at CCPC. Pete Stoughton, a member of the Christian Center, said the two girls “bring a vibrancy to our programs and services.” Sheccid regularly volunteers for their larger events and Haerter volunteers during the Tuesday night dinners.


David Sanchez: The Recycling Center

The Recycling Center nominated senior David Sanchez for his continuous service work. Last year, he logged in over thirty hours of volunteer work within that specific organization. The Recycling Center is grateful for Sanchez’s hard work stating that he was “instrumental” in keeping things running smoothly. Sanchez’s hands-on service work includes cleaning up and moving boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrapping, and more. Sanchez also wrote a Green Tip on Spring Cleaning which was published in the Park Record. Carolyn Wawra, director of the Recycling Center, expressed her gratitude for having him on their team of volunteers “We’re lucky to have David’s support at Recycle Utah and really enjoying being able to count on him.”


Courtney Solomon: The National Ability Center

The National Ability Center nominated sophomore Courtney Solomon as their most zealous and diligent student volunteer. Solomon’s year round volunteering includes a range of activities, from recruiting more volunteers to working one-on-one with the NAC’s Team Flyers in cycling, skiing and snowboarding. Lauren Willie, the Volunteers Manager for NAC described Solomon as “a great leader and mentor to the participants she works with every week.” Ms. Willie went on to describe how Solomon “not only helps youth of all abilities in our sport and recreation programs but also helps them develop life skills and create long lasting friendships. Our participants can’t help but smile and laugh when Courtney is around.”


Tanner Johnson: The Kimball Art Center

Nominated by the Kimball Art Center is senior Tanner Johnson. Johnson stands out among the art center’s numerous volunteers primarily because he “is always willing to do whatever is needed, even if that means cutting hundreds of pieces of cardboard.” Courtney Dean, a worker at the Kimball Art Center described. Johnson volunteers twice a week and always brings his admirable “enthusiasm for art” when he does. Johnson is “a tremendous asset to the Kimball Art Center” and cannot be thanked enough for his service work.


These six students have given an extra gift this season – their passionate commitment to a cause. The ripple effect of their volunteering goes further than the non profit organizations they work for. By spending extra time assisting in various organizations, these students have been able to make their own difference in the community.