South Stokes senior Sarah Birkholz was recently named Ruri-Teen of the Year after receiving district honors weeks earlier.
The teen has been involved with Ruritans since 2009 when she attended Germanton Elementary and began volunteering. As a freshman in high school, she encouraged her softball teammates to cook breakfast at the Hospice Care Center in Winston-Salem, where they continue to serve patients the day before Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas Eve.
Birkholz has acquired more than 250 volunteer hours throughout the years.
“When I was about nine or so me and my sister started going with my mom to her work at the nursing home and volunteered in the activities department. I played countless games of Bingo, helped residents complete all type of activities and built many relationships.”
Birkholz also spent time volunteering at the hospital in Danbury because she knew early on she wanted to pursue a nursing degree.
“I also love to volunteer to teach others about agriculture. At my high school through my advanced ag class, a few other girls and I are able to create lesson plans and go to our local elementary schools to teach students the basics of animals, plants and equipment.”
The teen visits the schools two to three times a week for about 30 minutes and said the children enjoy it as much as she does.
Volunteering is a reward in itself, Birkholz said.
“Being able to make someone smile over simple tasks that you do, makes it all worth it. As teenagers we think that we’re too young to help others, or we’re too busy in our own lives. I think it’s important for teens to be involved in the community because it teaches you valuable lessons like leadership, dependability and communication skills.”
She added, “Being in the Ruritans has taught me that there is always people to help in a time of need, and that small acts of kindness go a lot farther than you realize.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.