Sara Arizi, a junior at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, became the youngest volunteer Sunday School Teacher at Calvary Baptist Church when she was in the sixth grade. In addition she volunteers through the youth group, STIR, and has served on and plans many youth events and mission days for her church’s Student Leadership Team since its founding in 2009. She has also attended several leadership conferences that taught her how to better serve her church and community. “Activism has humbled me in more ways than I can say and has healed my blindness to the needs around me,” she says.

One of Arizi’s most rewarding volunteer projects was playing with the children at the Fischer Development Neighborhood Apartments in Algiers in the spring of 2011. The mission day was held on a Saturday morning and the volunteers were overwhelmed with the amount of children that showed up. Arizi’s youth group catered to the needs of poverty-stricken children who came from broken homes – many of the children just wanted a playmate or attention. Arizi and the group spent the entire day painting faces, making bracelets, giving piggyback rides and anything else that would put a smile on the kids’ faces.  “When it came time to go, it was hard to hold back the tears,” says Arizi. “I wasn’t ready and will never forget the teary eyes and pouty lips staring at me as I left.”

This past fall, her youth pastor, JimBo Stewart, asked Arizi to help plan the next mission. She helped pass out flyers a few days before the event, and on Saturday morning the students came for another fun day. This time, when it was time to leave, Arizi noticed that some children were lashing out in anger that they had to leave their new friends. The children were afraid of being forgotten.

One little boy told Arizi “You don’t understand. You are the only ones who play with me; you are the only ones that love me.” Arizi says, “That day will forever remain etched in my brain, and it also made me come to an important realization in my life.”

Another service project Arizi participated in was the 30 Hour Famine this past October. During the 30 Hour Famine, Arzi had to fast for 30 hours while sleeping in a cardboard box. During this time, participants reflected and were educated on hunger in third world countries.

At Dominican, Arizi is involved with the Christina Leadership Club, Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society. Through the NHS she tutors children at Lafayette Charter Academy. She also participates in Dominican’s annual Adopt a Family, a Christmas present drive, and has served as a camp counselor at DominiCamp.

Arizi wants to be a doctor but doesn’t want to work in a hospital. Her plan is to specialize in pediatrics and work outside of the United States, where healthcare isn’t easily accessible.