Most high school students aren't thinking about how they can make an impact on the world. A lot of other things compete for their attention. For high school senior Naomi, however, having a positive impact is very important. Her story begins with The Salvation Army.
"I got involved with The Salvation Army because I used to stay with my cousin in Cary, NC and they were members of The Salvation Army. I would come spend the night with them and would go to church with them. I loved it. It actually involved the kids and that's what I liked about it."
As a young child, Naomi quickly became involved with many of the programs offered at The Salvation Army, designed to teach spiritual values, and offer godly advice from mentors. She thrived in these programs but was most excited to have the opportunity to go to summer camp.
"I was really excited. It was just a dream for me to come to camp. I had so much fun. I met new people. I still remember my counselor – it was Miss Michelle. She was great. I really really enjoyed it and every year I came back to camp! I wanted to come back and work at camp because I felt God calling me to work. I wanted to give the children the opportunity to experience what I experienced when I was a camper."
While attending one of The Salvation Army's camping programs, Naomi participated in activities that invited her to share in the experiences of children who live in poverty. It inspired her to make a difference and she quickly invited her church community to get involved.
"Naomi's Child is a fundraiser that I started for a kid in Ecuador. Her name is Brittney Gonzalez. She lives in poverty. Me and my church - we help her through the Salvation Army. It was just a thought at first but then I thought, 'No, I need to!'. I went to talk to my officers and they found the girl. At first it was just me, but then I involved my church family and they started helping."
Naomi has learned about the power of generosity and the positive impact that an individual can have. Through her faith in God and the support of her church family at The Salvation Army, Naomi has learned an important and lasting lesson that will help her have an impact on the world for years to come.
"Helping someone... it just feels good!"