Jenell Theobald - Gold Award
School: International School of Beaverton
Category: Teens (11-15)
Jenell, a sophomore at International School of Beaverton, has been serving on the Beaverton ADA Technical Advisory Committee since the beginning of 2022. Jenell was appointed by the Governor as the youngest member of the state Youth Development Council, and her four-year term started Oct. 2022. Because of her advocacy and community service, Jenell was the Oregon Honoree of the 2021 Prudential Spirit Community Service Award, and a finalist of 2022 Time Kid of the Year.
Jenell’s passion is helping marginalized people, whether it is because of their disability, mental illness, economic status, or ethnicity. Jenell was the first one to respond to Lone Fir Cemetery Foundation’s letter writing campaign for a memorial garden for historically marginalized groups. She wrote a sample letter to the Metro Councilors and posted to social groups. Twenty five other students joined her, which led to 4 million dollars in funding for the heritage garden. Jenell and her nonprofit Let’s Peer Up teammates advocated for people with disabilities, which led to the creation of the Beaverton ADA Technical Advisory Committee. Due to the efforts of the committee, Beaverton created a permanent position to serve the needs of people with disabilities. Jenell was one of seven people selected to participate in Senator Wyden’s townhall meeting, discussing mental health issues with the Senator. The Senator’s office staff later contacted her and she was able to discuss ideas about solving the mental health crisis with the Senator on other occasions. Jenell is heavily involved in many Elks activities, particularly the service projects of its special needs Camp – Camp Meadowood Springs – from fundraising to Memorial Day weekend camp cleaning up, from holiday toy drives to taking care of special events booths.
Jenell appreciates all the help she received on her way to overcoming physical and developmental difficulties she had since birth. In return, she spends earnest efforts in helping others and uplifting the community. Her advocacy and volunteering have had huge impacts, while at the same time helping her develop some of her skills which have made her a more well-rounded person.
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.