When Kyra Jasper joined Cary Teen Council’s executive board, she was too scared to speak at meetings.
Over the years, Kyra gained confidence by watching her peers and participating in community service projects, she said.
“Watching my friends grow as leaders, and also watching myself grow as a leader, while I am surrounded by these fabulous people who have taught me so much is really great,” said Kyra, a 15-year-old 10th-grader at Raleigh Charter High School.
That experience, Kyra said, led to her being recognized earlier this year as the Town of Cary’s Outstanding Teen Volunteer of 2014, which is given to a member of the Cary Teen Council who demonstrates leadership and a strong interest in community service.
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Cindi King, supervisor for Cary’s Herbert C. Young Community Center and former Teen Council adviser, said she’s watched Kyra come out of her shell.
“She is a working leader,” King said. “She’s not one to say go and do this. She is going to be the first to do it.”
Kyra joined the Cary Teen Council in sixth grade. The council is a volunteer organization that seeks to empower teens through projects that promote leadership and community service. Members include about 800 sixth- through 12th-graders who record more than 11,000 hours of community service annually, King said. Kyra joined the council’s executive board in eighth grade, she said.
The role of the executive board includes leading meetings, planning events, and representing the council at other events, Kyra said.
Last year, Kyra helped planned “Clowning Around for the Cure,” an annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer. The spring event raised $1,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital at UNC by collecting donations at a carnival with a clown, inflatable rides and games and balloon sculptures.
At the end of the day, the Teen Council closed off the carnival to the general public and opened it to children who have cancer. The experience redefined what volunteering meant for Kyra, she said.
“To see these kids and to see the impact that the event was actually making on them, making them happy, and making their life just a little bit easier even for a short period of time,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Kyra’s other extra-curricular activities include serving as a Junior Volunteer and on the Teen Advisory Board at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences; singing in chorus at Raleigh Charter and with other honor chorus organizations. She’s also the co-president of the Raleigh Charter Writer’s Club and was recently inducted into Tri-M, an international honor society for music students.
Rebecca Flammia, Kyra’s Spanish II teacher at Raleigh Charter, wasn’t surprised when she learned that Kyra won the award. When Kyra transferred from Enloe High to Raleigh Charter at the start of this school year, she got involved in her new school’s activities and community right away, she said.
“She puts herself out there,” Flammia said. “She is very outgoing and she is not afraid to put herself out there and be involved.”