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Rockwood’s Gross earns high honors

May 16, 2018 GMT

Amelia Gross said she believes that giving back to the community isn’t all about the money — it’s about touching peoples’ lives along the way.

The 18-year-old Rockwood Area High School senior recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her investment in her community.

“I was happy when I learned that I had received the award,” Gross said about accolades from America’s highest office.

Gross is involved in several programs, including Outdoor Odyssey, the Red Cross and the Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee.

Outdoor Odyssey is a leadership program founded in 1998 that pairs people with mentors.

Gross mentors two elementary school girls through the program.

“I’ve learned how to guide people without actually showing them,” Gross said. “I encourage them to face their fears and to step outside of their comfort zones.”

As part of a Red Cross blood drive, Gross assisted people to and from tables where blood was drawn.

She assisted during the jubilee at the jewelry booth and also by collecting ZIP codes to see where to market for the event.

Gross said that volunteer work has helped her to respect differences in backgrounds.

She also thinks it has helped her develop skills in conflict resolution.

“I was at camp. One girl was homesick. Another girl was making fun of her for being homesick. I brought them together and got them to share their experiences,” she said.

Rockwood assistant high school Principal Misty Demchak is excited for Amelia.

“She shows genuine interest in her volunteer work. She’s a good role model,” Demchak said.

In addition to these activities, Gross is involved with the student council, the ski club and the Special Olympics.

The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation launched the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2003 to recognize the importance of volunteers to America’s strength and national identity.