PRVO, Utah – Serving others is not just a pastime for 15-year-old Adreana Hall; it’s a passion. The ninth grader from Herriman’s charter school Providence Hall High School has made volunteering a priority, both locally and globally.
In 2015, Adreana participated in a fundraiser for Primary Children’s Hospital. The 10-year-old collected enough items, including coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals and toys, and stuffed over 75 backpacks to donate to the sick children at the hospital.
“Her enthusiasm for helping others really took off during this project,” said Trina Hall, Adreana’s mom. “She loved collecting the supplies knowing that they were going to bring smiles to so many faces.”
Adreana’s volunteer efforts are also a family affair. In June 2016, the Hall family took a trip across the world to Papua New Guinea to help a school in need of basic supplies.
This was not a random destination or school that they chose. Her father, Jordan, was born there and still had family living there. His brother is a school headmaster in the Milne Bay Province. The school, which enrolls up to 215 students, was in desperate need of school supplies, a laptop computer and internet access. It lacked standard reference and story books and other teaching and learning materials. They had a student to text book ratio of 1:4.
The Halls got busy fundraising for this journey and ended up receiving over $1,500 in donations. When the family of five arrived in New Guinea, it presented basketballs, toys, school supplies, the laptop and other much-needed items to the school.
“This was a really good experience for me,” Adreana said. “It affected me in such a positive way that it made me want to keep finding ways to help others.”
In a time when teenagers are occupied with education, social media, sports, extra-curricular activities and social obligations, many youth can fall into the excuse trap of, “I don’t have time to volunteer.” Volunteering is important to a kids’ well-being and maturity just as much as their other activities. It teaches them empathy, develops life and emotional skills and increases self-esteem. Sounds like a pretty good return on investment.
Adreana doesn’t give that response. When she is not studying for her AP and honors classes, hanging out with friends or playing basketball, Adreana can be found volunteering for Youthlinc (https://www.youthlinc.org/), a Utah-based, nonprofit organization that organizes local and international service opportunities for young adults.
“I was accepted into a wonderful program called Youthlinc last year,” she said. “With Youthlinc, I will have the opportunity to visit a small village in Thailand in summer 2022 and have many wonderful opportunities to serve that community and learn from everyone who lives there.”
She isn’t doing this alone. Once again, family is involved, and Trina hopes to go on the service adventure with Adreana.
“In order to travel to Thailand, I will need to spend 50 hours serving my community,” Adreana said. “Thirty hours must be done with a community organization, and 20 hours can be on your own.”
The majority of the service mission will be spent in the village. Days will be spent helping with construction, participating in community health fairs, providing educational lessons and leading vocational training.
The mother–daughter duo, who plan on teaching English lessons while in Thailand, have been logging hours at the Taylorsville Food Pantry since last November. Together, they regularly assist the pantry with donations and passing out food. This last year has taken a toll on many Utahns, making them reliant on the services that the pantry provides. Their dedication to helping others is especially appreciated and essential during this time.
“I have enjoyed it so much, I plan to continue volunteering beyond the required hours,” Trina said. “It has been a rewarding experience.”
Adreana’s other service hours include serving turkey dinners to the homeless over Thanksgiving and collecting more than 500 pounds of clothing for donation.
Good deeds can come with a cost. Adreana is self-funding her travels to Thailand.
“I need to raise $3,600 to cover the cost,” she said. “I am committed to making a difference locally and internationally. I’ve always wanted to do something big to change the world, and I feel like this is my opportunity.”