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Springfield middle schooler recognized for her volunteer efforts with veterans

Shayla Young
Shayla Young
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The bingo balls are jumping at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Northwest. It's where 13-year old Shayla Young does the work she loves.

"Just help with the veterans and see their happy faces all the time," Young said.

The eighth grader at Irving Middle School in Springfield isn't just helping with bingo, she's devoting her time to assist residents at ice cream socials, with bowling, and teaches the seniors about technology.

"She does all this kind of stuff like on a Saturday for us and what teenager takes up a Saturday to go help a bunch of fools like us?" asked 85-year-old resident Jonathan Hess.

Young's volunteer platform was born out of pain.

"In elementary school I was being bullied like a lot and I wanted to do something nice to others," she said.

Since then, Young has donated more than a thousand volunteer hours and is getting plenty of recognition. One of her proudest accomplishments was receiving a White House honor: The Points of Light award in 2017.

Earlier this year she won the $1,000 Prudential Spirit of Community Award which is funding complimentary dinners for veterans.

"Mostly going to different restaurants and places like that to eat which is very nice because we don't have many places outside the home where we can go to ourselves," said former Army First Sergeant James Diamond.

Young's latest endeavor? Collecting essential items for veterans in need. She's been contacting retailers for donated supplies and has started a fundraising page.

Her message to others?

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"Just to show everyone else that no matter what they do, it can make a difference in the world," Young said.

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