“I believe that it’s important to be involved in the community because it allows us to change the world in little ways. Changing the world can be as small as smiling at the people passing by or as big as putting an end to war,” says Emma Elizabeth Mathes, a senior at Archbishop Chapelle High School.

Mathes’ most rewarding volunteer work is working with hands-on artifacts at the National World War II Museum. She enjoys teaching guests new things every time she volunteers.

“It’s amazing to see the spark of pure curiosity and wonder blossom in people’s eyes after learning something new. I also enjoy meeting and talking to all the veterans who come to the museum,” says Mathes.

The museum hosts many events throughout the year to help cultivate a passion for STEM for young women. The program is called Girl’s Innovation Studio. Mathes loved working during those workshops because she was able to show young girls how to be themselves.

“No matter the size of the change, being involved in the community gives people access to changing the world in ways they never would have thought of otherwise. Maybe a person’s volunteer work can also help them find the best version of themselves along the way.”

Julie Lefort, Mathes’ junior year religion teacher, showed her the importance of her activism.

“I never realized that just helping people and being kind was activism, but walking into Ms. Lefort’s class has shown me that it is,” says Mathes. “She showed me the importance of a smile and the great treasure anyone can find when following their dreams.”

Mathes is planning to attend St. Louis University to pursue her dream of working as a forensic scientist. During this summer, she’s working on starting her own service project with the help of her mom.

Mathes will be working in animal shelters around the city to create videos of dogs playing in their natural setting. She wants to post these photos on Facebook in hopes to get people to adopt the shelter dogs.