The Importance of Community Service

The Importance of Community Service

Read how community service has impacted AQHYA member Delaney Dickens’ life.

Delaney Dickens and her sorrel American Quarter Horse

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Being involved in a community service activity or organization is an opportunity that all youth need to experience. The American Quarter Horse Association has always done a stunning job of providing its youth with many beneficial programs. In the past year, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the AQHYA leadership program! I had dreamed about being on the team ever since I was a little girl. Being a part of the AQHYA Board of Directors, becoming a committee chairperson is one of our responsibilities. We were asked to select the committees that we were interested in. As soon as I saw the community service committee option, I knew it was for me.

The goal of the community service committee is to impact and educate people involved in AQHA and the general public. Community service plays a huge role in a healthy community. Community service teaches young people skills that are highly desired in the future. My involvement in the community service committee taught me many skills, but the one skill that has stuck with me day in and day out is the importance of relationships and connections. Community outreach is just as beneficial to those receiving the outcome as it is to those who are working to serve them. During our service projects, we not only bonded as a team, we were shown something that was bigger than ourselves.

On this committee, it is traditional for every member to do a local service project. The goal of this is to give back to our local communities and then come together to make a big impact on a larger project. These bigger service projects usually occur at the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar and Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show the year after the committee is appointed. The past two years at YES, we have partnered with the Snack Pak 4 Kids organization to help end weekend hunger for kids in the Texas Panhandle and provided books and blankets to help improve literacy and well-being to grade-school age children in the Bryan-College Station, Texas, area with an organization called Books and a Blanket. At the Ford Youth World, we have partnered with the Youth World Show committee to put on a large-scale food drive. Last year, AQHYA donated more than 740 pounds of food to the Oklahoma Food Bank. In 2018, our efforts provided toiletry items to an Oklahoma City women’s shelter. Both years, we had amazing participation from all who attended the Ford Youth World!

The community service committee has educated me in many ways. I use the skills I was taught by this committee on a daily basis. The connections I have made through this committee and even by just being involved in AQHYA and my community are endless and are relationships that will stick with me. I urge everyone to be active in the community and get involved! You will only grow! No service is too small; community service needs to live on through our young people. I hope you all get involved!