A recent high school graduate from Ankeny is getting recognized for her involvement in volunteering, which has landed her in Costa Rica.
Anna Christopherson, 18, who graduated from Ankeny Centennial High School this year, has worked with several organizations with the goal of giving back and learning more about others. With Des Moines Refugee Support, that included helping children in refugee families pick out supplies and clothes for school, taking a family for a medical checkup and a haircut and making sure families had necessities like winter clothes.
She has also volunteered to pack meals for families in need, donated blood and helped Boy Scouts raise money for their troops.
Speaking last week from Costa Rica, where she was on a trip with her Spanish classmates to bring school supplies to children and learn about the local culture, Christopherson said that community service helps her gain perspective.
"I've learned a lot about the experiences that other people have and how that changes them," she said.
She said that more fortunate people, like those in Ankeny, can do a lot to use the resources they have to help others.
"Doing a little things, like going and packing some meals, can save somebody else's life," Christopherson said. "If you can so easily impact somebody else's life in a positive way, it will make their life so much better and it will make you life so much better knowing that you are helping others."
Christopherson grew up in Illinois and was involved in concert band, marching band, soccer, National Honor Society and Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica during her time as a student.
Christopherson recently received a $2,000 scholarship from Pizza Ranch and Coca-Cola to honor her service as an employee and as a community member. Christopherson is one of ten Pizza Ranch workers who received a grant this year, including four in Iowa.
She plans attend the University of Iowa and study mechanical engineering, with a possible graduate degree in business later. She will look at opportunities for community service in Iowa City once on campus.
Chris Higgins covers the eastern suburbs for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-423-5146 and follow him on Twitter @chris_higgins_.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Ankeny Centennial graduate's community service takes her to Costa Rica