Holland teen grows through community service

Karinna Martinez, a junior at Holland High School, is more involved in the Holland community than most adults.

From a young age, she was interested in getting involved in every activity she could, however, her path to volunteering in the community began in eighth grade. 

Since then, Martinez’s goal has been to increase her understanding and connection with this community. 

Martinez has done immense amounts of volunteering since freshman year. In ninth grade, she was required to do 25 hours of volunteering to graduate from the LAUP Adelante program. Martinez fell in love with volunteering and ended up spending way over 25 hours of volunteering. 
After a freshman year volunteering requirement, Karinna Martinez fell in love with volunteering and ended up spending way more than the required 25 hours of volunteering.
Mainly she volunteers on the Holland Youth Advisory Council as Chair High (leader).  HYAC’s mission is “partnership with other community leaders that will develop the leadership skills of ourselves and others; provide advice regarding youth issues; serve our community; and promote youth participation and civic involvement.” 

Sharing with her community

Additionally, Martinez partners with Women of Color Give (WOC), where she is working with other teens to create an addition to WOC Give for Teen Girls. 

“I work with them because I love how they are changing the narrative of philanthropy. Often in philanthropy, the people making the decisions aren't those who are affected,” she says.

WOC Give is empowering many voices in Holland to contribute their talents to our community.

Last, but not least, is the LAUP Citizenship and Member Adelante Program, which helps kids prepare for life after high school. Martinez volunteers for the citizenship program and helps the instructor with whatever she needs.

“I'm her assistant,” Martinez says, “I make copies, help lead small groups, and work one-on-one with students.” 
The group of volunteers she usually works with are adults. She rarely works with kids her age, which shows her bravery and passion for volunteering. Sharing her gifts with the community helped her gain opportunities and showcase how much she cares for the city of Holland. 

“Holland is an amazing community,” says Martinez. “These organizations have helped me grow and succeed in many ways.” 
Mainly Karinna Martinez volunteers on the Holland Youth Advisory Council as Chair High (leader).

‘She’s an ally’ 

Julian Lugo, LAUP's director of youth programs and advancement, describes Martinez as one of the most active student volunteers in the Holland community.

Martinez joined the LAUP youth programs in 2022. In the 2022-2023 school year, she alone provided 140 of the 283 combined volunteer hours from the 16-member Adelante! class for grades eight through 11.

Not only did she dedicate her time attending weekly Adelante! youth programming, she also spent every Monday volunteering in the adult citizenship program, where she helped Spanish-speaking adults memorize in English up to 100 U.S. civics questions that any individual applying for citizenship can be asked on the day of their courthouse test. 

"She’s also an ally," Lugo says. "I will never forget how she will verbally stand up for any marginalized group experiencing injustice or discrimination. Karinna does all of this while maintaining a superior grade point average in school, being a daughter, varsity swimmer, and friend."

Repaying the support she has received

Martinez knows how important it is to have good support. This community is so influential to her that she wants to stay here so she can involve herself with organizations to continue helping the residents of Holland. 

Martinez has gone to Holland Public Schools since kindergarten and has been blessed by many great friends, an amazing community, and loads of opportunities. Notably, Holland Public Schools has given her two years' worth of free classes at Hope College. 

Martinez feels that her involvement in these organizations has empowered her and opened doors for her to see what kind of future she could have and what kind of future she wants. 

Outside of volunteering, Martinez is on the varsity swim team and track team, and coaches middle school swimming at Holland Middle School. 

Martinez is grateful for her mom, who drives her to all of her activities while she eats her dinner in the car. 

Martinez plans to become an elementary special education teacher for Holland Public. 

”By volunteering, I can give back to the community that has given so much to me,” she says.
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