Palmetto High School senior Victoria Doucette is nearing 1,000 accumulated community service hours. Doucette has been raised to be involved in the community and her ultimate goal is to work in the non-profit sector.
At Palmetto, she is a member of O Interact, a service organization. Interact is affiliated with O Ambassadors, a program started by Oprah Winfrey.
“Through that I do a lot of beach clean-ups and arts festivals,” she says. “As O Ambassadors, we try to spread awareness of our region. We had the Panthers Got Talent show last year and we sent the profits to South Asia for a well.”
O Ambassadors tries to educate others about the needs of children in developing countries.
“The first year it started, we made presentations in social studies classes,” Doucette says. “We would get dirty water and show the kids the difference.”
Doucette says it makes a difference showing someone the dirty water than when they are just told.
“People don’t know that people are dying from diarrhea,” she says. “I like to make people aware of what’s really going on.”
Doucette is also trying to make a difference in the lives of children in Africa. She is vice president of the Invisible Children club.
“That’s to spread awareness of Africa,” she says. “The civil war in Uganda just ended. The club is dedicated to raising awareness of the children who were abducted and forced to become child soldiers.”
The club is now focused on helping in the reconstruction of the country.
“We’re trying to rebuild homes and schools so Uganda can have a fresh start and try to live better after the war,” Doucette says. “We have screenings at school where all the social studies classes are aware what the club is about. We have a lot of fundraising activity.”
She has held car washes at her father’s gas station, the Mobil on South Dixie Highway and 104th Street to raise money for Invisible Children. They have also had bake sales.
However, Doucette has not forgotten about the people of this community. This past summer, she and a friend worked at Camp Shriver, the Special Olympics camp.
“It was basically a summer camp and we played sports and board games with mentally challenged people,” she says. “It was a great experience.”
Doucette has also volunteered at the Children’s Bereavement Center, working with the elementary and middle school group. Her community service also includes working at the Cutler Presbyterian Church vacation bible school for two summers. “
I worked in the snack room and the Bible Studies,” she says. “We had a small stage and we would decorate the room and recreate a bible story. I think kids like learning that way, where they can see it.”
Doucette is also involved in several Palmetto High School honor societies, including the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta. She has participated in many math competitions and has tutored other students in math, which she says is her best subject.
“I’m in the math mentors class this year,” she says. “I go to a geometry class and if any students need help, I assist.”
Doucette hopes to compete in social science competitions this school year as well. Her career goal is to join the Peace Corps and then go back to school to work on a master’s degree in non-profit management. But first she plans to earn a business and management degree. Her list of college choices includes Boston University, the University of Florida, Florida State University, Rutgers and Drexel.