By Beverly Perkins
Hollywood resident and Nova High School senior Olivia Cohen was selected as a Bank of America Student Leader. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation selects only five exceptional high school juniors and seniors for this coveted position in the Bank of America Student Leaders® Program at the YMCA of Broward County. The choices are based on the students’ commitment to serving the community and making Broward a better place to live along with their outstanding academic achievements.
The eight-week paid internship opportunity gives junior and senior level students the opportunity to develop and apply leadership skills through hands-on community work experience at local nonprofit organizations as part of the Bank of America’s Student Leaders® program.
“In the third grade I came to the conclusion that the health I was fortunate enough to have was not something I could simply ignore or take for granted,” said Cohen. “Instead I decided to take action and create my own non-profit organization called Giving & Living.”
The entire premise behind Olivia’s organization is that it is “For Kids, By Kids”. To date, Giving & Living has raised more than $18,000 for organizations such as Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish, and Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, Florida. Today, it is much more than just a fundraising group but a network of students who are interested in volunteering and seeking the right organization to give their time.
In addition to the internship, these select individuals from Broward County had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to join more than 200 other Bank of America Student Leaders from around the country for a week-long Leadership Summit. The students met with members of Congress, learned about diversity and nonprofit work, and built and applied leadership skills through hands-on community work experience.
“The ability to gain this knowledge at such a young age has begun to turn the wheels in my head to guide me on my path in life. In conjunction with this, the chance to walk on the steps of Capitol Hill and engage in conversation with our local Representatives was an incredible opportunity,” added Cohen. “Overall, the Bank of America Student Leaders Summit taught me that my voice is not only heard but valued in a world full of chaos.”
When she isn’t running a nonprofit, Olivia can be seen on the debate stage and is passionate about creating a future for herself that will inspire others and make a difference.
Since 2004, the program has supported 2,200 young people nationwide. To learn more about Bank of America’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and practices, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow the company on Twitter @BofA_News and @BofA_Community.