Unsung Heroes
Robin Willscheidt
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Aug 22, 2013 | 1220 views | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robin Willscheidt
Robin Willscheidt
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Robin Willscheidt has had a pretty packed schedule for the last few months, despite being on summer break from Grand County High School. Between working as a lifeguard at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center, teaching private swim lessons and babysitting, the 15-year-old is definitely on the go. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding time to volunteer in the community.

Willscheidt credits her mother, Danette Johnson, with first getting her interested in volunteer work.

“My mom started the [Moab] Free Health Clinic,” Willscheidt said. “She got me involved in the community.”

When the clinic opened in 2008, Willscheidt helped out as much as she could at her young age. “I just did little stuff like cutting up prescription pads and making posters. Things a kid could do,” she said.

But the experience encouraged her to seek out other volunteer options, and as she got older, she started to branch out.

“I help out whenever something comes up that I can do,” she said.

Over the past few years her volunteer efforts have included donating time as a lifeguard at the Grand County Public Library’s Cardboard Boat Race, reading stories in German to children at the library’s story time, helping with arts and crafts tents and a wide variety of other activities.

Willscheidt recently completed a two-year term as a student board member to WabiSabi, a local nonprofit thrift store.

“I was nominated by [former WabiSabi director] Jeff Cohen to be on that board,” she said. “It was really great. I was on a lot of subcommittees. I made a lot of choices that I feel are important to the community, and I like that. Just being able to make little changes.”

Melony Gilles, WabiSabi’s current executive director, said student board members serve in a similar manner to regular board members.

“The only difference is they don’t vote on financial decisions,” she said.

Gilles said student board member positions are becoming a national trend, especially within nonprofits.

“Not only does it give them exposure to how nonprofits work, but it’s training people to be in community leadership positions,” Gilles said. “It’s important to have a youth perspective ... Obviously [Robin] was very valuable to us.”

WabiSabi board president Christy Calvin said while most of their student board members are great assets, they can be hard to recruit. “

Robin had already been volunteering for our stores for a couple of years,” Calvin said. “She was very motivated and very enthusiastic.”

Calvin said Willscheidt’s young age made her dedication to her volunteer projects even more impressive.

“We got lots of good insights from her perspective as a student and her work at the stores,” she said, adding that Willscheidt even drafted plans for a larger store for WabiSabi, as well as designing a logo in her classes at GCHS.

“She’s always doing stuff for us,” Calvin said. “She’s a great participant.”

Even though Willscheidt has finished her term with WabiSabi, she says she is looking for the next opportunity to do something similar. “

I really enjoyed being at the meetings and meeting with other people who take my ideas ... and we can expand on them,” she said. “So I’m looking for a new student board position.”

Once a month, Willscheidt also hosts a two-hour radio show on KZMU.

“That’s a lot of fun,” she said.

In addition, she helps the radio station during its radio-thon fundraisers in the spring and fall.

Willscheidt began her junior year at GCHS this fall and she’s already looking to the future. She said she has considered careers in architecture as well as foreign languages. For now, she’s keeping her options open.

“Everything is open for me right now. I really like to be into a little bit of everything,” she said. “I am only 15. I can only do so much.”

Willscheidt may only have a couple of years left before she graduates high school but she says she will continue looking for more volunteer opportunities here.

“I’d like to get involved with the [Moab Valley Multicultural Center] a little more,” she said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on, and it’s all good.”

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