Linda Loi has been volunteering in the Golden Gate National Park for the last five years. First in the Urban Trail Blazers Program and most recently with the program Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders, Loi has dedicated hours of her time each week to giving back, not just environmentally but also as a youth leader and role model to others in her programs.
During the National Conference on Volunteering and Service last month, a site visit to the Park was arranged for conference attendees to see, first-hand, the role that volunteers play in the Parks and how that impact extends to the surrounding community. Loi stuck out during the tour for her energy, enthusiasm and maturity—a shining example of a young person in service.
“Volunteering is important to me because I get to pass along a message to someone else,” she said. “To get people to the National Parks gives them something to care about…a lot of [young volunteers] come from tough neighborhoods and when they are at the Center, they don’t want to leave to go back home.”
Among the programs that Loi says she works on at the Park includes environmental issues including land management and sustainability, nutrition and organic food and mentoring. She sees the impact of her work in the fellow young people who come to the Crissy Field Center within Golden Gate Park, where the programs are based out of. “It changes their lives. They see a world greater than themselves and outside of what they grew up knowing,” she said.
After spending years biking 6-9 miles to and from the Center, Loi is off to make an even larger contribution in college. As the recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, she has earned a full-ride to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts beginning next month. “It will be a whole new experience but I am so excited,” she said.