Shannon Louie believes every act of kindness is an expression of world peace. “As long as I make an effort to impact others, I have succeeded in making an imprint on world peace,” she said.
Louie’s experience earned her a US$700 scholarship from an association within Sister Cities International, a Kiwanis International community partner that advances better alliances to drive global change, improve the lives of children and help communities to thrive around the world.
The president of the Gabrielino High School Key Club in San Gabriel, California, USA, credits her involvement in Key Club with shaping her world views. “World peace doesn’t mean I have to do something on a grand scale like curing cancer,” she said. “I can do something small and still make a difference.”
Key Club was the perfect fit for Louie who learned about community service in middle school. She had the opportunity to join another service club in high school, but decided Key Club was a better fit. Since her involvement four years ago, the club has grown from around 180 members to 449 members. The club’s service impact has expanded too. In addition to providing service decorating floats for the Rose Parade, the club regularly volunteers with Kidspace Science Museum, the local library and in nearby elementary schools. The club also partners with the city to provide service at community events. Since April 2015, the club has participated in 3,260 hours of community service.
“Every little act of kindness goes a long way,” she said.
The club is especially proud of its work on The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. By participating in Trick or Treat for UNICEF, the members raised US$561 to save and protect the lives of 311 women and their babies.
It’s hard for Louie to select her favorite service project. But she vividly remembers one instance of volunteering at an outside gift wrap station during an unusually cold, December night. Her club was wrapping Christmas presents under the twinkling lights. “It’s the smile (the customers) have that warms the heart,” she said.
Louie will use the scholarship from United States/Mexico Sister Cities Association to pursue a 4-year degree. While she doesn’t know just yet what field of study she will pursue, Louie has an interest in biological sciences and conducting research.
“Whatever my future career is, I know that it will be one where I can still say ‘Caring-My way of life’ and serve the community in a different capacity,” she said.
Click here for information on how Kiwanis and Sister Cities International can partner together to extend their impact.