By Jamison Sapp, 2017 Y.E.S. Participant
The NRA Foundation is celebrating #GivingTuesday 2017 by supporting the NRA’s Youth Education Summit Scholarship Fund with a five-week fundraising campaign. Leading up to the big day, we are highlighting the positive impact that the NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) and its participants have on their communities, our country and the world. We are sharing stories of our Y.E.S. alumni, by Y.E.S. alumni. Tune in to NRABlog to read these individuals’ inspiring stories of giving. We hope you’ll join us in recognizing these remarkable young men and women and think of these leaders when making your #GivingTuesday donation. 100% of your contribution funds NRA’s Youth Education Summit Scholarship Fund.
As an NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) alum, one thing I can state without a doubt is that every single Y.E.S. participant has a passion for their country, community and fellow citizens. Emily Brooks is a wonderful example of how that passion gets turned into action. Since attending the program in 2016, Emily has continued to give back to her community by supporting Operation Welcome Home (OWH) in her home state of Illinois.
The Plainfield North High School graduate remembers how encountering so many like-minded students at Y.E.S. helped her succeed in her later endeavors. Now a freshman at Augustana University, Emily first started working with OWH in 2015. The non-profit organization works to honor veterans coming home from deployment and help support them in the transition back to civilian life. The most heartwarming aspect of the group’s work is the joy it brings to everyone involved.
Emily relayed a touching story about a favorite moment from her time with the organization. “My most memorable moment working with Operation Welcome Home was actually my very first celebration,” she said. “It was for a soldier coming home permanently, and easily 300 people attended the party.” The moment impacted not only Emily, but all the people in the community. “I cry every time,” Emily shared with emotion in her voice. “It’s just beautiful to see all these people come together to support someone who has given so much for our country.”
When asked how she got started with OWH, Emily spoke of how she had been exposed to similar events in nearby Chicago. “When I heard we had these events in Plainfield, I knew I wanted to participate,” she recalled. Emily’s passion to do good in the world spans farther than just this one act of kindness. Enthusiastically speaking of her plans to become a school teacher to help young students reach their full potential in life, Emily noted what has driven her toward this goal. “Just seeing a child’s eyes light up when they learn and understand new things, there’s nothing like it” she explains.
Not everyone has the initiative to work so hard for others, and Emily credits her upbringing as an important part of her motivation to give back. “Since I was really young,” she noted, “it was just instilled in me to respect our country’s veterans.” Emily not only volunteers for OWH, but also contributes her time to many projects meant to benefit her community in other ways. One touching commitment has been with Ready Set Ride, an organization created to help special needs kids learn to ride horses. It is undeniable that Emily has a passion to work with and help those in need—a trait that not only helped her make it into Y.E.S., but also to be successful after.
To say the Youth Education Summit had an impact on Emily would be an understatement. When talking about how much it helped her in her future endeavors, she paused, saying, “Man, where do I start?!” She went on to note just how life-changing the experience was for her, particularly emphasizing how she has benefited from the close friendships she developed with her fellow Y.E.S. participants. “Being able to share that experience with such wonderful people was what made the entire week so special.”
There are few people who embody the passion for serving our country and communities like Emily Brooks. But with the expansion of the NRA Youth Education Summit, one thing is guaranteed: the program will continue to welcome more and more students to Washington, D.C., and provide them with opportunities to grow into exemplary citizens like her.
Create your own story of giving! Turn your intention into action and say “YES” to Y.E.S. by making a donation today at www.friendsofnra.org/Donate. 100% of your contribution made here to The NRA Foundation funds NRA’s Youth Education Summit Scholarship Fund. Through participation in the Y.E.S. program, students compete for $55,000 in college scholarships. That’s where you come in! Help us support the young men and women who will Lead the Legacy of freedom into the future. Visit www.friendsofnra.org/GivingTuesday today for more information, and invest in the next generation of Second Amendment champions.
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