Vail Daily column: Selfless and authentic acts of kindness | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Selfless and authentic acts of kindness

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Sara Coulter

In this competitive day and age of putting yourself ahead of others for the sake of getting "noticed," many teens volunteer community service hours for alternative reasons: College applications, elevated social status or a simple pat on the back. This is not the case for Eagle Valley High School sophomore Sara Coulter. When Coulter speaks about the countless hours that she offers to various organizations, one cannot doubt her sincerity and commitment to empowering youth in this valley.

"This is the community that helped raise me and I had amazing role models, so it is important that I pass on that mentorship to younger children," she said.

Well said, for a 16-year-old.

Coulter offers her time to a variety of local organizations, including the Buddy Werner ski development program, the First Tee junior golf program, DADD (Devils Against Destructive Decisions), Future Business Leaders of America and Eagle River Youth Coalition. A talented competitive golfer who reached the regional playoffs this spring, Coulter said of her First Tee coaching experience, "Golf is my passion, but more importantly, we teach these young kids about values and life skills. The kids are taught two values each week and then are asked to apply them to real life situations."

It is clear that she is more concerned about how these youngsters treat each other rather than how far they can drive the ball off the tee. As a member of DADD, Coulter encourages her peers to make healthy decisions and seek alternative behaviors to experimenting with alcohol and drugs.

Coulter has been an invaluable youth voice to Avon's nonprofit organization Eagle River Youth Coalition and also serves on their Youth Leaders Council. Coulter has been nominated for the honorary position of student representative to Eagle River Youth Coalition's board of directors. This nomination highlights local high school students who exemplify a strong commitment to supporting youth enrichment through service projects, leadership development and as an adviser for other nonprofit professionals.

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Within her Youth Leaders Council role, she helped plan the second annual 4/20 Anti-Drug rally, and promoted the event to friends and local teens. Coulter reflects on her Youth Leaders Council experiences saying, "I'm concerned about the well-being of youth in our community and I think the Youth Leaders Council is the best way to address that."

When Coulter is not stuffing a hand warmer into a toddler's snow mitten or debating the best business strategies amongst her FBLA cohorts, she competes on Eagle Valley High School's volleyball team and alpine ski races. She wishes she has more time to spend with her family and venture on recreational hikes — an admirable price to pay for having such a powerful impact on our local youth. Her high level of integrity and empathy should be embraced by others. We are very fortunate to have Coulter in our community, modeling the "authentic" practices of community service.

Jason Peck is the project manager at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The coalition tackles three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to supporting the health and well-being of local young people, the coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit http://www.eagleyouth.org.