LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - McCutcheon High School Freshman Faith Killian-Fassnacht said out of her dark past she's working toward a future where she can make a difference in other's lives
"Because of what I've gone through, I don't want other people to experience the same things that I have so I just like to give back to others," Faith said.
Before she was adopted Faith said she lived in an abusive household. Her past is what inspired one of her five programs "Writings on the Wall." The program helps teens write about topics they don't feel like they can talk to adults about.
"It helps with youths that are going through abuse, teen pregnancy, alcoholic stuff, abusive relationships. Anything that we feel like we can't talk to adults about because maybe they might not understand or think this can't possibly be going on," Faith said.
Faith has earned the title Youth Volunteer of the Year for her work in the community. Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Deputy, Sgt. Andy Cree said he's seen how community involvement can change a teen's life.
"A lot of times these kids start out maybe with a compromised family structure or maybe not mom and dad in the same home and if they can get involved with the community and have other role models and other people that model good behavior then they can feel a sense of worth," Cree said.
Cree said there are many local business that are willing to help minors that have had run-ins with the law. He said he's seen the opportunity to give back to the community help teens' self-esteem and guide them down the right path toward community involvement.
"You don't have to be in trouble to be a good community service volunteer," Cree said. "One thing I suggest to kids is one thing, be active in their own neighborhoods. Some of these kids are disconnected from their own neighbors and if there's people in their own are you can help, if it's someone who is maybe elderly that you can help with yard work, connect with your neighborhood first, but then there's a lot of opportunities outside of that."
One of those opportunities is through the Sheriff's Department.
"We do take teenage kids that want to volunteer their time and how they can affect the community," Cree said. "The explorer program not only teaches them things about law enforcement, but they've helped out with things like the Red Cross fish fry where they are working to help generate those donations that come in."
While many teens may want to serve their community Faith said she always reminds them to just ask what they can do.
"Nothing is never impossible and maybe just talk to somebody and get the message out there that you want to help and see who will help you do it," Faith said.
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