“I believe that helping others get a better lot in life, through opportunities and the ability to make changes, gives the entire community a better chance to succeed,” says Brenna Robinson, a junior at Benjamin Franklin High School.
Robinson is a leader of Ben Franklin’s Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, an organization that helps rebuild houses and supplies relief for those affected by natural disasters. Through that volunteer experience, renovated houses are able to be sold at a discounted price to public school teachers. Those teachers then bring their skills to the public schools to help New Orleans students to achieve greatness.
One of Robinson’s most rewarding experiences was volunteering with those affected by the Baton Rouge flood in 2016 and the tornado in New Orleans in 2017.
“Rebuilding after natural disasters means a lot to me after seeing how, even more than a decade after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still has to rejuvenate parts of the city that were lost,” says Robinson.
Robinson also volunteers with From Student to Scientist, an organization that fosters student interest in science. She is also the point person in the student leadership for Franklin Prep, a program to help incoming freshman adjust to high school life.
“It makes me really proud to help lead Franklin Prep, and see anxious eighth graders from all different backgrounds bond together and become confident freshman ready to face rigors of high school,” says Robinson. “A lot of work goes in all year round in order to make it run smoothly and improve it each year, but giving students a running start at a legitimately difficult school makes it absolutely worth it.”
Allie Mayer, the foster coordinator at the Louisiana SPCA, is one of Robinson’s inspirations. Mayer re-homes animals struggling to get adopted from the shelter, making sure they have a second chance to find love.
“As a foster parent (to animals), I can see how important her work is, as shy, scared or simply unhappy animals transform into confident animals who get adopted by loving owners,” says Robinson.
Robinson is interested in attending Tulane University or the University of Southern California, but she’s still keeping her options open. She isn’t sure which specific profession she wants to pursue, but enjoys the engineering and veterinary fields. When Robinson isn’t working on schoolwork, she enjoys going out with friends. The Robinson family fosters dogs and she hopes to continue support for the LA-SPCA.