"Volunteering helped me find who I am."
It's easy to feel lost as a teenager. Zong Xiong was a sophomore searching for direction when she joined the Fresh Force as St. Paul's Central High School. The service-learning and leadership program immersed her in a world of volunteering. Soon she was promoting hunger awareness through a food drives and working at the McDonough Rec Center in a program that gets at-risk youth involved in community service. She's served as a peer mediator, a volleyball coach and even president of the Teen Council there.
Zong was born in Thailand and moved to the United States when she was 3. She says learning English was tough... but her teachers pushed her. Their determination is why she enjoys helping students. Now a nursing student at Gustavus Adolphus College, she tutors younger students and speaks out for Asian diversity awareness. In the summer, she volunteers at Regions Hospital.
She says the best part of volunteering is making people smile.
She hopes to continue that through her career as a nurse. But don't expect her to stop volunteering. It's who she is.
"When I'm not volunteering, I feel like I'm not doing much."
Designated Charity: Fresh Force