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One of my top priorities has been serving my community, while making a positive impact on those around me. As a resident of southeast Michigan, I have seen the difficulty teenagers face in obtaining opportunities that will equip them for future education and employment.

This one of the reasons I decided to apply for the Bank of America Student Leaders Program. This initiative connects teenagers to the workforce and educational opportunities that they need to build stronger financial lives.

Through the program, I had an opportunity to work at Focus: HOPE, where my peers and I spent the summer learning what it’s like to work in the nonprofit sector. We helped aid our communities through hands-on experience with early childhood education, food and career training programs.

This program enhanced my knowledge of public engagement and private enterprise, and increased my capacity to serve my community. My internship made me a stronger leader. By participating in the Student Leaders Program, I realized that being a leader and supporting my community is what I do best.

Currently, I am a freshman at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I’m interested in entrepreneurship and community engagement, hope to earn a business administration degree and ultimately start a nonprofit to help provide uniforms and school supplies to children without financial resources. On campus, I participate in the Preparation Initiative Program through the Ross School of Business. It’s designed to guide students through their freshman and sophomore years to ensure their success in getting accepted into Ross.

Next summer, I will continue to act on my community-minded passion by traveling to either Uganda or Indonesia through the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates program for service learning. Through this experience, I hope to advocate and contribute to the cause for international children in need of a quality education.

Through the Student Leaders program, my peers and I learned valuable workforce skills that laid the foundation for our future career success. We also gained an in-depth understanding of some of the issues impacting our local community and our country.

As part of our summer employment experience, we spent a week in Washington at the Bank of America Student Leadership Summit, where we completed a service learning project, participated in a poverty simulation and attended leadership workshops. We walked away from that experience with added skills in leadership and financial literacy that will give us an advantage in the working world.

I encourage high school juniors and seniors to apply for the 2016 Student Leaders program before the Feb. 2 deadline.

Learn more

Visit bankofamerica.com and

click on the “Global Impact” tab.

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