Ishaan currently serves as the President of our Teen Leadership Board, a position he fulfills with the both the confidence and diligence of a leader twice his age. He’s an inspiring young man, who isn’t satisfied with just doing a project, but asks hard questions about impact. He fully embodies the YMCA ethos of social responsibility and his ability to shape the Youth Development programming at the Sammamish YMCA reflects our mission of developing leaders empowered to change the world around them.
Ishaan first became involved with the YMCA as a 7th grader at Pine Lake Middle School. He was invited to join by his Science Teacher, Mr. Abraham, who still runs this program today. Ishaan remembers the powerful feeling of effecting the physical landscape. During his first year, Ishaan and his friends started clearing a path behind the baseball field. By the end of year two, they had created a brand new path. The tangibility of their accomplishment helped forge Ishaan’s service expectations.
“I think at a young age, it’s hard to see the value in service with no return. Through the process of clearing blackberries, I could see the change of hard work over time.”
When Ishaan became a Sophomore, he joined the much smaller 15 person Teen Leadership Board. As a younger member of the group, he remembers having a smaller role in the events. During his first year, Ishaan enjoyed participating in the event, but was more impressed by the discussion afterwards with fellow Teen Leadership Board members. They talked about how to improve the event by acknowledging personal shortfalls in front of their peers. Ishaan had never experienced that sort of vulnerability among teens in a working group. That openness and focus on accountability enables Eggstravaganza and other Teen Leadership Board events to grow year after year and expand their impact.
This year, with Ishaan’s guidance, the Teen Leadership Board has expanded further to incorporate seven different service groups, each focusing on a particular type of service. “I feel pride in how much we do, this year with more people, we might have more attendance issues, but we also make a larger impact and it’s amazing to see all the different projects and see each other achieve our goals.” Each year Ishaan says he feels like he steps more out of his shell. And today, watching Ishaan lead a meeting of 40 peers is captivating. He’s warm, fair and engaged as he asks questions, adds a suggestion, or thanks participants for their work. The YMCA would be honored if we had even the smallest impact on Ishaan, but feel most confident saying Ishaan has certainly made a huge impact here at the Y.
In 2016, more than 200 teens, just like Ishaan, contributed over 1,500 volunteer hours through their work in the community and with the teen service groups. The Teen Leadership Program such as the Teen Leadership Board, and work service groups, are available at no cost to participants and rely on program support to cover expenses. Donors like you help create a safe place for future leaders to bond, connect & engage.
Consider a gift to our Annual Fund Drive to support programs where teens like Ishaan can learn, grow and thrive through teambuilding, collaboration, discussion, project planning and service projects. Give today! http://bit.ly/Give2SammY