Allison Keller is the Gulliver Prep Silver Knight nominee in the area of Social Science. Keller applied in that category because of her interest in social science, but also because her community service project relates to the category.
“I was a member of the summer staff at a mission in the Dominican Republic,” she says. “I was there for five weeks this past summer and two weeks the summer before.”
Keller says the members of the summer staff are often from churches, but they also have groups from non-religious schools come in to help out as well.
“The summer staff is more of a specific program,” she says. “It involves different roles than for people who come for a weeklong mission.”
Those who volunteered at the mission helped build houses for needy families. They would also visit patients at a house being built for family.
“My role involved translating for people,” she says. “I spoke more Spanish.”
She volunteered at the mission because the supervisor and coordinator of the mission used to work with her parents.
“When he used to do missions to the Dominican Republic, he took my dad,” she says.
“The mission has been going for about 20 years.”
The previous summer, Keller spent a week in Homestead helping at a sports camp and building a house.
“I worked with a group that came down from Michigan,” she says. “We spent a week teaching kids about sports and reading to them. It was a sport camp that was run out of a children’s center.”
The leader of that ministry is also a family friend who had gone to her church. He contacted her before coming down to Miami- Dade and asked if she was interested in participating.
“I did enjoy it. Most of the kids were from migrant families, so it was a different experience, but I really did enjoy it,” she says.
She has also worked with participants at the Special Olympics. She’s volunteered for the Special Olympics with the members of the track team since ninth grade.
“I have always viewed it as one of my favorite events of the year,” she says. “All the athletes tend to be very enthusiastic. I enjoy seeing their excitement. I know it’s difficult for them to finish the event. I enjoy seeing them compete in games that normally they would not.”
In her track events, Keller runs long distance races – the 3200, the 1600 and sometimes the 800 meters. She also ran cross country for Gulliver. In past years, she played softball for Gulliver.
Her volunteering includes going to Holmes Elementary on Saturdays to be a literacy tutor.
“Our International Baccalaureate students partner with students from Northwestern High,” she says. “The idea of the program is that we work alongside the Northwestern students to tutor the Holmes Elementary kids.”
The teens work with the elementary school students to help them improve their scores on the standardized tests.
A couple of Sundays a month, Keller teaches Sunday school at Kendal Presbyterian Church.
She’s involved in the Gulliver club, Health Interested Students of America. Club members organize blood drives at school and promote events in the community that raise money for breast cancer, diabetes and leukemia.
In college, Keller plans to double major in history and something in the premedical field. Her goal is to become a doctor.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld