“It is important to me to stay involved in my community because I love to see how my actions make people feel,” says Grace Potter Giardina, a senior at Louise S. McGehee School. Giardina is stretched out pretty thin with homework, school clubs, sports and volunteering in her community, but her schedule allows her to help others.
In her community, Giardina is involved with Heart of Passion, a student-led organization. The students are working towards its “Red Carpet Day” event in June. All participants are raising money to send teenagers with cancer to New Orleans to enjoy the city.
Heart of Passion’s “Red Carpet Day” will host 60 teenagers for three nights and four days to visit New Orleans.
This is Giardina’s second “Red Carpet Day,” and even though putting on the event is hard work, it’s very rewarding. In order to host the event successfully, all of the volunteers must talk to multiple businesses, venues and sponsors throughout the year.
“In Heart of Passion I can see how my hard work has paid off. The participants who attend get to forget about their everyday lives of treatment and medication and are able to live their lives like regular teenagers,” says Giardina.
“Red Carpet Day 2013” is one of Giardina’s proudest moments. The event was so successful last year that the organization decided to double the number of participants. Savannah Solomon, Heart of Passion’s founder, is Giardina’s inspiration to volunteer.
In 1997 Solomon was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11. After attending an event with an organization called the Sunshine Kids, Solomon wanted to bring a sense of joy to her friends in the Atlanta Hospital. Solomon’s cancer came back but she proceeded to raise $60,000 to fly in 36 teenagers to Atlanta. “Even though Solomon faced a personal setback, she didn’t let it interfere with her original mission,” says Giardina.
Giardina is active at McGehee, serving as Protem and spirit leader, and serves on the Upper School Student Executive, Diversity Club, Green Society, STEM club and the student-athlete training program. She is also a member of the softball and volleyball teams; her junior year she was captain of the softball team while her senior year she was captain of the volleyball team.
With graduation right around the corner, Giardina isn’t completely sure what profession she wants to go into, but she’s thinking about studying business or marketing.