To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we've hand selected some of our most promising volunteers in our community to shine a spotlight on. Today, to help kick-off Global Youth Service Day, we recognize Jaquan Riggins for his outstanding efforts to serve Atlanta.
Jaquan is a senior at Atlanta's Washington High School ( currently, prepping for graduation) and has been volunteering with Hands On Atlanta for 3 years. We dropped in on him recently to talk about his work in the community.
Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering is important to me because it is my way of paying it forward. I am where I am now because volunteers took time of their personal lives to ensure I had resources, opportunities and had someone to talk to - all of which made of difference in my life. So, I want to do the same for other people.
What are the challenges facing Atlanta you care about most?
Accessibility to healthcare in low income communities is an issue that I care of the most, which is why I plan on opening a community care center that provides medical service to people with cardiac issues. We can put money into schools and provide food to low income communities, but if they are not receiving basic health care or necessary treatment, they cannot maintain employment, which puts them back into the vicious cycle of poverty.
If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
I'd be Superman because he is invincible but only weak to kryptonite and my kryptonite is my community and daily environment. It looks like it’s weakening me, but once I remember my goals, I’m back in the right mind and I'm stronger than before.
What has been the biggest surprise about volunteering?
The biggest surprise for me in volunteering is how many people that are out there who care about other people. People CARE and they want to help ensure other people do well.
What advice would you give someone thinking about making volunteering a part of their lifestyle?
The best advice I would give someone is that volunteering does not have to be with a BIG organization - it can be church, schools, nursing home, or even in your own neighborhood. You can start small and by yourself. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to be a part of change.
Find something that is important to you and become part of that movement.
When you’re not at work or volunteering, how else do you spend your time – hobbies, interests?
When I am not volunteering or preparing for high school graduation. I am playing baseball, tennis, or spending my time with family and friends.