It all began six years ago with cookies and lemonade, it was the summer before young Olivia Ohlson turned 10.
Olivia’s stand raised more than $10,000 for breast cancer research soon after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Being part of change wasn’t new for Olivia, her family has always prioritized giving back to the community. And she is an athlete, Olivia plays three sports; basketball, golf and soft ball.
The now 15-year-old athlete also facilitates a program called, “Diversify Golf,” where she teaches children of all backgrounds the basics of the sport.
“Diversify Golf,” is held at Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center for kids attending camp.
She is hoping to reach young girls of color, but all kids are welcome.
“A lot of my students don’t know about golf at all,” said Olivia. So her work is “all about informing people, and diversifying” the sport.
Olivia schedules the kids in the program, and brings in adult special guests to mentor and teach the kids. Those people also talk about how they got interested in golf. She also has help from ETHS freshman Belaye Hughes, sophomores Miles Gustafsonand Molly O’Hare, who are volunteers, and work with Olivia.
“I usually have two-to-four youth volunteers come out and help me everyday. We get the kids out here and teach them basic skills, and teach them a lot about the game like what clubs are called, what they’re used for, how to hit a club. I have kids that don’t even know what a course is.” Olivia said.
Although she has plans to go on to college, Olivia hopes to also see the outcomes and benefits of her golfing program in the near future. “I have a lot of community service hours logged at school, but it’s not about the hours, it’s all about the impact. I ‘m really hoping to see the game of golf bring other kids joy like it has done for me,” Olivia said.
In the fall, Olivia will be a sophomore at ETHS. She plans to be on the golf team this year and to volunteer as an ambassador for incoming freshman.
“I play three sports, and do homework between practice, while doing community service on the weekends.” Olivia said.
Olivia’s hard work has not gone without notice. She was nominated by the ETHS Athletic Director Chirs Levintino for an ESPY award.
The projects she has participated in have shaped her to be who she is today. Olivia said, “Seeing my impact is what inspires me to keep going.”
Olivia hopes to be a biomedical engineer and she has always wanted to be a doctor. “With engineering I like to make stuff and build things. I’m interested in being part of creating processes and tools for medicine.” Olivia said.
Olivia said to ABC News: “Community service is essential to personal growth.”