By: Cindy Piggott, Volunteer Member, Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award committee.
Sarla Thal, Minoru Yasui Committee Member, Award Winner Kyle Abrahm,
and Generation Ocean Representative Ali Miller
The importance of youths volunteering is worth noting. Young people who volunteer regularly practice skills like collaboration and problem solving. They build relationships and strengthen their support network. Volunteering provides the opportunity to work through real challenges and make meaningful change. Young people who volunteer regularly develop civic identity as leaders and changemakers.
Kyle Abrahm, a senior at Denver South High School, is one of those leaders and changemakers. The Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award Committee recently honored Kyle, one of its youngest recipients, for his extraordinary volunteer efforts. The celebration took place in the backyard of his family’s home.
Kyle was nominated for his work as one of the founders of Generation Ocean. Generation Ocean is a group of passionate young people who advocate for change. They lead river and park cleanups, campaign to educate locals about the alternatives to single-use plastics, and take expeditions abroad to participate in coral restoration, citizen science and research projects.
When Kyle was 12, he became scuba-certified and had an internship at Denver Divers. Inspired by a scuba research trip to Cuba, he and some older high school students approached Denver Divers about starting a nonprofit group with a focus on environmental conservation and climate change. As a founding member, Kyle helped to establish the vision, mission and the goals of Generation Ocean. As the Student Representative on the Board of Directors, Kyle takes the responsibility to ensure those objectives are met.
In addition to his volunteer efforts with Generation Ocean, Kyle volunteers with the South High School Food Pantry. Kyle spent his lunch hour more than once a week helping to unload and unpack food deliveries. He volunteered every Wednesday as the coordinator for the Student Senate volunteers, scheduling and making sure the bases were always covered.
Kyle spent more than 20 hours monthly making certain that the South Food Pantry was a success and ensuring that families did not go hungry. During these challenging times, Kyle has continued packing food boxes in the mobile pantry for families in need.
Kyle coordinated three blood drives at South High over the past 2 years. He recruited donors, helped set up and take down the events, organized snacks and water for donors, and worked closely with the phlebotomists to make certain the blood drives were successful. Kyle coordinated nearly 40 donors at each event, constituting 120 donations and helping to save hundreds of lives.
According to Jason T. Brookes, Denver South High School Director of Activities and Student Leadership, “Kyle is one of the most natural leaders that I have come across in my twenty years of teaching. He is an exemplary citizen in and out of the classroom, and is respected by his peers, teachers, coaches, advisers and administrators. He is intelligent, enthusiastic, creative, well-spoken, entertaining and dedicated to making Denver South High School and the surrounding community the best it can be.”
In addition to his volunteer activities, Kyle is a talented athlete playing both tennis and lacrosse for South High. Above everything else, Kyle continues to do this while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 5.129 and is currently ranked 1st in his graduating class of 2021.
Kyle is most definitely a changemaker. His integrity, passion and leadership make him the epitome of the next generation of volunteers and a most worthy candidate for the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award.
Kyle donated the $2,000 cash award to Generation Ocean.
The Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award is a program of Spark the Change Colorado. The award was conceived by the Commission on Community Relations to recognize and promote volunteerism by honoring an individual each month whose contributions are constructive, unique and outstanding. Current Sponsors, include the Denver Foundation, Lanny and Sharon Martin, About Time Awards, and Committee Members.
To learn more about this award, donate or nominate an extraordinary volunteer, please visit our website at www.minyasui.org.