Friday, Oct. 14, 2011
Leading the way: Freshman demonstrates leadership on March of Dimes national youth council
MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's Joey Platt has always loved working with children, but her passion has recently evolved into something bigger: a leadership position with a global nonprofit organization.
Platt, freshman in life sciences, Salina, currently serves as one of 19 members on the March of Dimes National Youth Council executive team.
"March of Dimes' mission is to improve the health of newborn babies by preventing prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality," Platt said. "When I heard about this mission, I automatically connected because I've always loved working with children, especially babies, and I always wanted to make a difference in that area."
Platt learned about the opportunity through her service-oriented involvement in high school, specifically her role as the national vice president of community service for Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America. Through this position, Platt was able to attend the 2010 March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga.
"I just fell in love with it," she said. "The executive team was so welcoming and nice, and they suggested that I apply to serve on the council the following year. I stayed involved by participating in fundraisers including March for Babies, which is a walk to prevent infant prematurity. When spring rolled around, I decided to apply."
After an extensive application process, Platt was selected for the college student committee in spring 2011. Council members are selected based on their demonstrated leadership ability and their potential for service to the foundation. Members have also done widespread volunteer work for March of Dimes and are active members in their communities.
Platt has been highly involved in the activities of the organization since her selection to the committee. She attended the foundation's staff summer meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and she will be presenting on behalf of March of Dimes at various conferences throughout the year. Alongside the rest of the executive team, Platt will also visit legislators on Capitol Hill at the foundation's 2011 Volunteer Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, Platt is conducting various local events for the foundation, including a March of Dimes service project in her leadership studies course at K-State.
"We're in a group of eight, and our assignment is to conduct our own service project," she said. "I'm the leader of my group, and we're focusing on March of Dimes. We plan on conducting different fundraisers around campus like Bagels for Babies in the morning, making T-shirts that say 'Wildcats for Preemies' and doing different awareness activities."
After graduating from K-State, Platt plans on attending medical school, specializing in neonatal care, and ultimately working overseas for Doctors Without Borders. She said the opportunity to work with March of Dimes has reinforced her future career plans and furthered her development as a leader.
"I'm just growing as an individual," she said. "Not only have I been able to travel by myself a lot last year and this year, I'm also growing as a leader. Being able to rally my fellow students and remaining dedicated to a cause -- in those ways I think I'm benefiting a lot from this experience."Platt is a Student Governing Association intern; a member of Quest, K-State's freshman honor society; and a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She is also involved with Wildcats Against Rape and the K-State Rotaract Club, a Rotary International-sponsored club for young men and women. A 2011 graduate of Southeast of Saline High School, she is the daughter of Lisa Platt, Salina.