Although Salt Lake teen Emma Hathaway recently was recognized for spearheading a range of volunteer efforts, she states modestly: “It is just that getting out there and doing different things is important to me.”
For her many contributions to the community, the recent St. Andrews Priory graduate was granted the Youth Citizenship Award by the local chapter of Soroptimists International, an organization that aims to improve the lives of women and girls.
Hathaway had been an active member of her school’s community service group, the Interact Club, and served as the president during her junior and senior years. Under her leadership, the group raised money to ship polio vaccines to foreign countries, volunteered monthly at the Institute for Human Services and conducted fundraising activities for AIDS research.
But Hathaway’s personal favorite was throwing a different kind of senior prom – an event for senior citizens at Leahi Hospital.
“A lot of the older aunties and uncles, they don’t get that kind of attention all the time,” she says.
“They were very grateful that we came,” Hathaway adds, “and they were so happy for everybody to be there. They all just had a really good time.”
Hathaway credits much of her philanthropic nature to her mother, who she says encouraged her and her sister to participate in church projects when they were younger.
“Ever since I was little, my mom has always done things like that with us,” Hathaway says. “So it is just kind of like second nature almost.”
In addition to her community service through her school, Hathaway also was selected as a board member of the YWCA’s first Young Women’s Network this past school year. Hathaway helped run a voting campaign and advocated for legislation and issues that impact women.
Although these various activities keep her busy, Hathaway also finds the time to do community service projects on her own. A couple weekends ago, for example, she and her mother volunteered at a health fair.
Hathaway plans to attend Portland State University in the fall. While she’s unsure of her major at this point – she’s torn between psychology and community development – she knows for certain that she will continue to do service projects.
And although she’s on summer vacation now, she already has a few projects in the works. For one, she hopes to help build houses for low-income families with Habitat for Humanity over the summer.
“I think my main goal is to just keep serving the community,” Hathaway says.