Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brainerd 9th-grader to be honored

What a great young lady! I wish we had many, many more of these stories.

It’s been awhile since a story ‘resonated’ (I’ve also been bogged down by home repairs).

Brainerd 9th-grader to be honored

When 15-year-old Sarah Fairbanks walked to the Brainerd High School South Campus media center Monday morning, she thought she was in trouble for something.
After all, Fairbanks was called out of her classroom to come down to the office and was told to speak to the counselor. Fairbanks said the teacher then had to do a "walk and talk" with her to the media center that made her even more nervous.
Once Fairbanks opened the door to the media center she figured out that she was not in trouble because she saw her parents, Lynn and Mike, smiling.
The ninth-grader knew something was going on. What was going on was Fairbanks was named the 2009 Youth Volunteer of the Year, which brought tears to her eyes as she hugged her family members.
Fairbanks will be honored at the annual Distinguished Service Awards banquet Dec. 17 at The Lodge in Baxter. The awards program is sponsored by Brainerd Community Action, Brainerd Jaycees and the Brainerd Dispatch.
Nancy Cross, Brainerd Community Action executive director, said there were several nominations for Youth Volunteer of the Year. Cross said Fairbanks was chosen for her well-roundedness in the community and how she had gone above and beyond in her volunteer endeavors. Cross said she is a leader in the community and is deserving of the award.
4-H leader Cindy Terwilliger, nominated Fairbanks for the award. Terwilliger said Fairbanks, who is a 4-H ambassador, has been involved in the Black Bear 4-H Club, a Nisswa area club, since she was 5. Terwilliger said Fairbanks has done a lot of community service and she's enjoyed every minute of it.
Fairbanks is involved in many 4-H activities, including the recent Crow Wing County 4-H Ambassadors' haunted house, she's helped with the 4-H Club's banquet and she takes photographs of 4-H activities throughout the year for a scrapbook.
Fairbanks not only volunteers in the community through 4-H, she also has been involved with the Mounted Eagles Therapeutic Horsemanship program. Fairbanks has been involved with the Mounted Eagles since she was a young child because her brother, Justin, was a rider there.
In Mounted Eagles, Fairbanks raised $2,200 for the "Loose Change Roundup" and through her leadership she created a project called "Giddy Up Games" where she developed and organized games to benefit the Mounted Eagles program and riders.
Fairbanks also volunteered at the Nisswa Children's Library in the reading program and she created a petting zoo program she does at the library and at Nisswa area events. Fairbanks takes her animals from home and shows them to the children.
"We live on a hobby farm and we have a mix of stuff," said Fairbanks. "We have miniature horses, goats, rabbits and ducks."
Fairbanks also volunteers at her church, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes, where she plays the flute and helps with brat and rummage sales.
Fairbanks also helped plant trees at Fritz Loven Park, cleaned up after parades and planted and cared from the Heritage Garden at Pioneer Village.
"Volunteering makes you feel really good," said Fairbanks. "It doesn't feel like volunteering. It's a part of me, I just do it."


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