Samantha Johnson Named February Youth of the Month

By: Jeremy Brown

Youth Resources’ Youth of the Month winners all share a passion for serving others and have carried out that enthusiasm for service in outstanding ways.

What separates February Youth of the Month Samantha Johnson from the pack is the range of the audience she serves. Whether it be flood victims, animals or elementary students, the 16-year-old New Tech Institute junior simply does not stop exploring opportunities to provide a helping hand.

Johnson’s current project, piecing together an anti-bullying board at Lincoln Elementary, is set to be finished early this month. Johnson created a safety promotion bulletin board for a Business Professionals of America assignment, and combining that experience with her own history as a bullying victim, along with recent bullying incidents in the community, resulted in her anti-bullying board.

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“I feel like the schools don’t always know how to handle bullying, and sometimes the student doesn’t know what to do either,” said Johnson. “It’s important for people to know that people are there and that people care. The younger people are taught that, the less likely self-harm happens, in my opinion.”

Johnson chose to spread the anti-bullying message at Lincoln because her mother, April, teaches there.

While many look for ways to serve their local communities, Johnson’s scope of service is larger than the Tri-State area. When wildfires destroyed more than 17,000 acres and caused $500 million in damages across Gatlinburg, Tenn. in November, Johnson responded right away by raising funds, collecting canned foods, imperishable items, and food and other materials for the area humane society. Johnson, her mother and stepfather ended up hauling more than 500 pounds of supplies to Gatlinburg.

“People have a tendency to donate more to people who are struggling, but animals are also struggling, and that needs to be taken care of and seen more.”

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Johnson also set up a similar donation drive and donated items to organizations serving last summer’s Louisiana flood victims.

“I’ve been in a position where we haven’t had everything we have needed at all times. It hurts me to see other people in that position. That’s when they need support the most.”

Johnson’s recognition automatically qualifies her as a finalist for Youth Resources’ Youth of the Year award. She joins St. Ben’s Josee Gibson, Castle’s Hadley Mosby and Landon Eisenhut, McGary’s Elijah Brinkley, North High School’s Emily Westrich, Mater Dei’s Grant Riordan, and North Junior High’s Geoffrey Grant Greer as 2016-17 Youth of the Month recipients. Youth Resources will name its Youth of the Year at its annual Hall of Fame Celebration on April 19.

To nominate a student (5-18) for Youth of the Month, visit youth-resources.org.