Volunteers making a difference: Ava Mickens

Published on April 21, 2023 in

Thirty-four percent of the U.S. population is under the age of 25 and more than a quarter are under 18, according to Census data.

Because these populations will pave the way for our future, we all have a vested interest in the success of every young person. Research shows that volunteering can lead to better outcomes for children, young adults and our communities. Youth who volunteer are more likely to perform better in school and work and become civically engaged adults.

During Global Volunteer Month, United Way for Southeastern Michigan is highlighting youth from our Volunteer Honor Roll who are devoted to making a difference and creating positive change within their communities. We celebrate their commitment and hope it inspires people of all ages to get involved.

Since the age of six, Ava Mickens has dedicated herself to serving others. After joining Jack and Jill of America Inc., Ava learned valuable skills in leadership, community service and civic engagement, which helped to enhance her love for volunteering.

Now 11, Ava has continued to set the bar by enriching her community through her acts of service. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ava knew that many people could not see their loved ones, especially seniors. She partnered with the Grove Crest Nursing Home to start a letter writing campaign to bring joy to those who needed it most. Ava has also been a part of the Spread the Love campaign, where she collected and hand delivered peanut butter and jelly to the Lighthouse of Oakland County’s food pantries.

“I really love volunteering because it’s fun and I love helping the community,” Ava said.

Recently, Ava was honored by the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan and presented with the Do the Right Thing award, which recognizes youth for volunteering, acts of heroism, leadership, and positive role model behavior. Even at her young age, Ava embodies the importance of giving back to her community.