High school senior Lauren Yim tutors inner-city children and helps collect items for local food kitchens at her school. Because of her dedication to helping others, she was named the 2021 Citizen of the World, an award for young alumni.
The Citizen of the World Award recognizes alumni who are fulfilling the school's mission: "The Bright School builds a foundation upon which students become wise and compassionate citizens of the world. Its century of progress fosters the intellectual, artistic, physical, and moral growth of young boys and girls." To be eligible for the award, alumni must be current students in high school (grades 9-12), college. or graduate school. The winning alumni demonstrate leadership in service to others in the broader community. Anyone may nominate an alum for the award. Fifth graders read through the nominations (with names and schools redacted), score the nominees with a rubric, and select the winner.
Head of School O.J. Morgan presented the award to her in the fifth grade math classroom as all the fifth graders watched. Lauren talked to them about the service work she has done, and they asked questions such as how she got involved in community service, what it was like going into sixth grade, what she hopes to be as a professional after college and if she has any free time. She told the fifth graders that she enjoys volunteering and giving to those in need.
Lauren, a senior at Baylor, will be attending the University of Richmond in the fall. In her hometown of Dalton, Lauren has helped collect and bag hundreds of winter coats each year to be donated to elementary children in Whitfield County in the Warm Hearts Coat Drive program. Lauren has taught Sunday School at her church, Rockbridge Community Church, since sixth grade. At Baylor, she has been involved in community service since enrolling as a sixth grader. She has volunteered at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Siskin.
Since ninth grade, she has tutored students at West Side Center every day after school. This year, she serves on the RESPECT board and has been a site leader. Lauren has written several grants to help students at West Side. She secured funding to purchase 80 backpacks and fill them with school supplies, ear buds, stickers and masks.
Last year, she was chosen to go to Jamaica for a service trip through Baylor, but the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19. She was awarded the Joe Key Award at Baylor for her contributions to the school community. Lauren also is a board member of the Sustainabiltiy Club at Baylor and helps collect unused snacks and lunch food to be donated to local food kitchens. Outside of school, Lauren has volunteered at the Creative Discovery Museum and Erlanger Hospital.
The other nominees were:
Aayat Ali '16, Lambert High School in Atlanta
Sophie Peirano '14, Baylor
Trey Hamilton '14, McCallie
Sara Catharine Daniels '13, Furman University