“I may be small, but I’m fierce and strong. I feel empowered and I learn new things every day.”

Mariska of Laurel Run, Pennsylvania is known for leading positive change in her community. This Be Strong Student State Representative is a passionate organizer of many community initiatives.

Recently, Mariska collected over 200 pairs of eyeglasses and had them fixed for people in need, collected and donated over 500 stuffed animals for children experiencing trauma, and gathered coloring books and crayons to donate to Native American communities.

“Our communities and neighborhoods standing together can bring about positive change,” Mariska said. “I’ve been raised to put others first and have been taught the importance of making the world a better place and being there for everyone in need.”

Mariska’s heart for community service shines through her long list of service projects and involvement. Whether she’s collecting pop tabs or raising funds, she inspires collaboration in her network of friends, family, neighbors and classmates to maximize the impact of her work.

In addition to being a natural leader, Mariska is one tough cookie! This karate-loving Student of the Month gives back by helping younger students in her karate class learn important katas and techniques.

“I choose to be strong in my community by taking on important projects and moving them forward,” Mariska said. “The smallest things we do can help make a difference in this big world.”

Mariska has even more impressive accomplishments on the horizon. This fall, she’s working with her school’s principal to make “buddy benches” at her school. The buddy benches will serve as a place for kids to find and meet new friends when they’re in need of a buddy.

“Sharing a smile with someone is a way to make a difference,” Mariska said. “As kids in this world, we are the future and the things that we do now will help make a difference in the world later.”

To learn more about Be Strong’s free programs, email getstarted@bestrong.global. To nominate your inspiring student to lead inclusive change, visit nominate.bestrong.global today.

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