A global youth ambassador
WHILE most Year 12 students are engrossed in their HSC studies, Coffs Harbour Senior College student Holly Rand is busy fundraising for a volunteer trip to South-East Asia.
On her birthday in January, Holly, 16, was chosen by the Global Volunteer Network out of thousands of applicants to take part in their Youth Ambassador program and given a $500 scholarship.
"I was over the moon. It's an amazing opportunity and the Global Volunteer Network have an incredible range of programs for Youth Ambassadors ," she said.
The GVN Foundation Youth Ambassador program enables youth internationally to connect and create change in their communities as well as embark on a volunteer trip to Vietnam, Thailand or Uganda.
Between now and July 2016, Holly needs to raise US$2500 to embark on a trip to Vietnam, where she can focus on helping the homeless or helping mistreated elephants in Thailand.
Holly aims to start selling handmade dreamcatchers and other crafts at the Coffs Harbour Jetty Markets on Sundays to help her raise money for her trip.
Talking over Facebook, Holly has enjoyed forging friendships with fellow participants and learning from their experiences.
"Finding like-minded people is really cool; it's inspiring to hear other people's stories and it's a fantastic way to learn things from other people."
Holly said GVN provides a platform for youth to work together and foster positive change in their communities and the world.
"I feel like sometimes, young people feel like the world is too big for them to actually make a change.
"But when you get together with like-minded people and you look for opportunities that are out there, you can make a difference."
The Karangi local said the biggest thing she's learnt through the program was that small, daily acts of kindness in your own community could have a big impact in the lives of others.
"It doesn't have to be on an international scale; it can be on a day-to-day basis,
Holly volunteered in the Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal and was involved with Relay For Life.
"A love for people" ingrained by her parents has inspired her to help those in need, she said.
Holly is studying German, Spanish and French and aspires to study languages at university with a career goal to become a translator for an international volunteer organisation.
To donate go to www.gvnfundraising.org.