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Without PAVA I would have never been given

PAVA's efforts to preserve our environment and help those within our community goes beyond simple clean ups at Griffith Park's Bird Sanctuary, river and beach clean ups and food distribution at Midnight Mission. PAVA encourages students, parents and friends to educate themselves about our current environmental status, as well as what they can do to help improve their own community. Since PAVA includes a majority of cities within southern California, PAVA requires many district presidents as well as national presidents and vice presidents. One key difference between PAVA and other non-profit environmental organizations is its leaders. PAVA offers students the opportunity to take these positions of leadership, teaching them various characteristics needed to be a successful leader and communicator. As PAVA's current junior national president, I have not only been given the opportunity to better my community but I have also been presented with various events and situations where my knowledge and skills could be used to create lasting impacts on my community.

One of the most memorable occasion I have had with PAVA was when I was invited by K-ARC (Koreatown Art and Recreation Center) community organization representative, Caroline Sim, to speak before the County Board of Supervisors. I was asked to talk about the complex impact that constructing a new park and community center would have on the community. My participation was crucial because I had to convince the board that people my age and younger would be offered an area where kids could safely socialize and take advantage of free activities, sports and tutoring.

Due to the large number of people supporting this plan and the efforts of representatives like Caroline Sim, who submitted reports and plans to the Board of Supervisors, we were finally granted a slot to present our case before the Board. A week after our hearing, we were told that our efforts were successful and that we had been approved to start construction and given a grant. Other than the fact that I was able to help Koreatown gain necessary park space and a community center, I was able to allow the younger generation's voices to be heard and more importantly, I was proud to help create valuable opportunities for younger children.

Without PAVA I would have never been given this opportunity to represent those in my community and meet such amazing people whom I learned from. The people I met during this event taught me what I can personally do to help those around me and how I can get others actively involved in issues that I believe in. It was an important triumph that allowed me to see beyond my age, sex, abilities and skills and taught me that even a small voice can have a resounding, long-lasting echo that can impact future generations. It's a sentiment I will carry into my future endeavors thanks to PAVA.

Written by: Katherine Kim (Immaculate Heart High School 12th Grade)

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