Jenell Theobald - Gold Award

School: International School of Beaverton
Category: Teens (11-15)
Hours: 109

Jenell Theobald is a freshman at the International School of Beaverton. Born with both physical and mental disabilities, she is inspired to give back after so many people have helped her.

Jenell’s advocacy focuses on diversity in all its forms, including neurodiversity. As the founder and Chairwomen of nonprofit Let’s Peer Up (LPU), Jenell strives to help people with disabilities. One fifth of Americans have a disability, yet this problem doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the mental health crisis worse than ever. Mental healthcare is very expensive and hard to access, especially by those with underlying mental disorders. Led by Jenell, LPU convinced the City of Beaverton to establish the ADA Technical Advisory Committee which is currently recruiting members, and will start in 2022. Currently, Jenell has been reaching out to the Oregon state level, advocating for laws that would make mental healthcare more accessible, as well as creating a community support system that doesn’t rely so heavily on healthcare providers.

Jenell was also influential in getting funding for the Lone Fir Cultural Heritage Garden, a garden that would honor marginalized communities who were forgotten to history. Jenell wrote a sample letter to Metro, asking to fund the project. Many other students joined the campaign, and Metro allocated $4,000,000 to the project, making this 20-year dream come true.

When Jenell is not working with Let’s Peer Up, she is volunteering for other events and organizations. Over the summer, she volunteered for the Evergreen Museum during the Oregon International Airshow. She helped organize traffic for the event. She also participated in fundraising for the Chinese Festival in Pioneer Square. She enjoys art and graphic design, and has created event posters for various nonprofit organizations. She also organized over 40 students to draw envelopes for the local Elks Lodge Christmas gift delivery program.

Because of her work, Jenell has won several awards, including being the 2021 Oregon honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and being featured in Pamplin Media’s 2020 Amazing Kids. Jenell was interviewed by Spectrum Life magazine and she is on the front cover of the magazine’s 2021 winter issue.

Oregon Chinese Coalition is proud to join the President of the United States in recognizing the volunteers who consistently take the time to make a difference in the lives of others. Therefore, it is a great honor to present the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) to Jenell Theobald.