When Daniel Edmondson was a middle school student looking to get involved in community service, he did what most kids in his hometown of Boulder City, Nevada did – he volunteered at the local hospital. During his time at the hospital, Daniel met a patient whose grandson was involved in a scuba diving volunteer experience.
“I had never heard of other cool opportunities for volunteerism,” Daniel said. “I thought, what if someone went around and found out what organizations needed help and what opportunities were out there that teens would be more interested in?”
After some research and legwork, Daniel made his idea a reality by forming Teens Actively Volunteering (TAC), an organization that strengthens the voice of the community’s youth by offering teens an outlet to share and seek out unique volunteer opportunities.
“Having these interactions [between teens, business leaders and city officials] helps to bring the community together by bridging the generational gap,” Daniel said.
Daniel added that TAC helps teens who come up with a new volunteer idea to organize and lead their own service campaigns.
“TAC provides an environment that is conducive to fostering leadership in teenagers,” he said.
Daniel’s dedication to serving his community and motivating his peers attracted the attention and praise of many at Boulder City High School. In 2010, Daniel won $5,000 as a National Semi-finalist for the NASSP/Herff Jones Principal’s Leadership Awards and $3,000 as a Regional Finalist for the National Honor Society Scholarships.
The annual PLA and NHS scholarships are awarded to high school seniors across the country through a nomination process. Selection is based strongly on leadership qualities, as well as school recommendations, work experience, standardized test results and academic achievement.
Daniel, now 18, will graduate college debt-free as a result of his scholarship winnings and for that he is especially grateful. Yet, Daniel explains that he has reaped many other benefits through his involvement with organizations like the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation and Elks National Foundation, benefits that have nothing to do with money.
“These organizations send out newsletters and other materials, solely for scholarship winners, with job postings, internships and other useful information,” Daniel said. “You make connections with people from these organizations who can help you get ahead, which is always helpful, too.”
Daniel, who is majoring in neuroscience and plans to attend medical school in the future, recently completed his freshman year at Brigham Young University. Looking back on his first year of college and the many scholarship applications that helped him get there, Daniel has learned some valuable lessons about setting yourself up for success – start a savings account for miscellaneous expenses at college and begin building your resume early so you don’t have to try to remember everything you do throughout high school, just to name a few.
His biggest piece of advice?
“Just put in the effort,” Daniel said. “I was really scared when I [came to BYU], but once I got started I realized if you stay on top of things and don’t get behind on reading and assignments, you won’t feel overwhelmed.”
Daniel was also a recipient of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award, the Kohl’s Kids Who Care Awards and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.