Aly Stephens is a servant leader who’s passionate about giving back, and especially working with at-risk children. She has been described as a strong leader who has contagious energy and a huge heart.
Since she was 8 years old, Stephens has been traveling to Mexico twice a year to volunteer at an orphanage for youth ministry. Over the years, she has become increasingly involved with planning activities and organizing the trips, which now involve 40 or more people every year, as well as facilitating donations for the local community. She also took Spanish classes at school so she can communicate better.
“The children of Mexico have captured Aly’s heart and that is where her true talent lies, being kind and loving,” says Kristine Antilla, children’s ministry director at Harbor Christian Church. “Aly takes the time to interact with everyone. She sees a child who needs that little extra attention and she is right there to be a friend.”
Stephens says those trips have helped her form many long-lasting relationships.
“I learned how to truly love people,” she says. “This also inspired me to work with other communities and people with special needs.”
As a result, she began volunteering with Special Olympics as well as mentoring students with special needs through Young Life.
“I love how community service makes me feel — complete devotion to making other people happy,” she says. “Selflessness is the most important thing for me.”
Stephens has been equally giving of her time to her school community. As the Spirit coordinator at Gig Harbor High, she’s been in charge of spirit activities for the entire school.
As one example, Stephens enlisted the help of about 20 students to create decorations at the beginning of the school year. Kelly Indahl, GHHS leadership adviser, says the décor was not only very impactful on students, but also the best she has seen in all her years at the school.
“Aly is one of the most creative leadership students I have had the privilege to work with,” she says. “In addition, she lifts others up for success on a daily basis.”
Stephen’s accomplishments include an excellent GPA as well as being captain of her volleyball team. She was motivated academically, in part, by her longtime dream of attending University of Washington, where she will likely major in communications.
Her goal is to obtain a teaching degree and work as a special education teacher or with a nonprofit, and continue to be involved with orphanages. She hopes to found her own nonprofit in the future.
“I’d like to be able to work with at-risk communities or children in need,” she says.
Category: Community service
Education: Senior, Gig Harbor High School
Parents: John and Andria Stephens
Activities/Achievements: 3 AP/Honors classes; Young Life leader; Special Olympics coach; volunteer at Mexico orphanage since 2006; school leadership; Spirit coordinator; volleyball team captain, Most Inspirational, Servant’s Heart award; Tacoma Rainiers Baseball Club Fun Squad
Favorite teacher: Rebecca Wenrich, English; Joe Everett, Spanish; Kelly Indahl, leadership “because they inspire me to grow academically and personally. They have taken the time to get to know me personally.”
Best thing about high school: “We have really developed a sense of community and unity among the class and between the students and staff. It’s a really amazing place and I’m going to miss it.”