Ever since she started collecting cans of soup, cereal, and boxes of rice in elementary school, Minyoung Cho knew she wanted to work in a food bank.
She remembers feeling a sense of pride as she and her family gathered items for the annual food drives at Ordway Elementary School, then helping deliver the boxes to Helpline House. “I loved doing that all four years,’’ she recalls. “Something about that stuck with me.’’
So, it’s only fitting that Minyoung went on to volunteer at Helpline House for three years during high school and serve as an intern this summer before heading off to the University of Washington where she is studying computer science. “I really enjoyed working with the other volunteers and meeting some of the clients,’’ she says of her time at Helpline House, where she did everything from stocking shelves to helping with Project Backpack.
“It was eye-opening,’’ she says of Project Backpack, which gave out 120 free backpacks to needy kids. “It made me happy to see the kids and their parents come pick up supplies and watching kids pick out their own backpacks.’’
Volunteering comes naturally for the 18-year-old, who grew up on Bainbridge Island and has a younger brother at BHS. In addition to many hours of service to Helpline House, Minyoung has been a docent at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, a Link Crew leader at Bainbridge High School, a member of the BHS Global Health Club, Social Justice League and a member of the high school’s Winter Guard, Color Guard and Marching Band.
Minyoung also received the Vincent F. Petrie Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is presented by Bainbridge Community Foundation to students pursuing college studies in one of the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, mathematics.
She also was one of twelve recipients of the 2021 Community Service Recognition Scholarship from the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club, and she was honored this year for her service to the community at the Bainbridge Youth Services Compassionate Action Celebration.
Asked why she spends so much of her free time volunteering, says: “The little things make a world of difference.’’