Emerging Young Leader Raven Walters
Many students around the country participate in community service efforts as a part of their journey towards high school graduation. As teens juggle academics, extra-curricular activities, jobs, and home life, finding a balance can seem nearly impossible. However, Buist Academy eighth grader Raven Walters handles these responsibilities with ease. Recently, Raven was named the 2014 Emerging Young Leader in the Founder’s Day Community Service recognition program hosted by the Gamma Xi Omega and the Iota Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Raven’s passion to help those in need propels her to select community service projects that are meaningful, instead of having something to mark off the checklist to use on her resume.
“I was shocked to find out that I was the recipient of this award. I couldn’t believe I was chosen out of so many other candidates,” she said, talking about her reaction to the news. Raven gushed about having had the opportunity to sit next to renowned visual artist, Jonathan Green, “He told me to ‘keep pushing on.’ I was honored to sit next to him.”
Active would be an understatement to describe Raven’s life. She has been involved in basketball, competitive cheerleading, a dance ministry at church, the youth choir, Sister to Sister Girls Ministry, and Roper Hospital’s SCRUBS mentoring program. She also volunteered with the Bounce House Company to promote happy and healthy vacations for kids. Last summer she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and Pet Helpers, and this summer she will work with Goodwill to help restore old furniture for deprived families.
The only girl and youngest of three, Raven describes her family as close knit. She feels blessed to have parents that encourage her and her siblings to work hard and reach higher to achieve their goals. Although sometimes it proves to be a challenge, she credits her brothers for setting the bar high for her success. With an older brother attending Johns Hopkins on a full scholarship, and the other brother attending Porter Gaud, Raven says she can still hold her own when it comes to being an excellent student and well-rounded person.
The eighth grader paid homage to the many pioneers who have paved the way for women around the world, in honor of March being National Women’s History Month. She attributes African American educator Mary McCleod Bethune as an influential leader who has impacted her life. “It was important for her to come to the south. I am here today because of her vision.” Close to her heart, Raven reflects on the legacy of her great-great grandmother who lived to be 103 years old, and played an important role in the lowcountry’s history. She was the first African American laid midwife in Charleston, delivering over 1,000 babies. Following in her footsteps, Raven plans to become an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN). Her fascination with this particular career stems from watching various television shows, like “A Baby Story.”
Raven enjoys playing the piano and writing songs to stimulate her mind and spirit. Her original piece “Butterflies” encourages people to chase their dreams, even when their fluttering nerves deter them from pursuing their aspirations. Her advice to young girls who want to be leaders, “Stay positive, be creative, and work hard. Whatever you decide to do, give it all you got. Remember to stand up against adversity, and take responsibility for your actions. Believe in YOU!” Raven Walters is indeed a butterfly that has spread her wings of light, love, and stewardship to her community. (Pictured from left to right: Kayla Mitchell, Isabel Root, Raven Walters, Jamilah Williams, and Ramona Mikell)