Megan Fiessinger, a Marshall County High School senior, credits a local nonprofit organization with being influential and shaping her as a person.
As Fiessinger reflects on what she wants her life beyond high school to look like, her home community and volunteering experiences can't be ignored.
As a member of Future Business Leaders of America, Beta Club, Kindness Club, Trash Club, Yearbook Staff, Marshall Militia, and more, Fiessinger has always prioritized involvement in her school and community. But her work with Bags of Love, a nonprofit based out of Marshall County, has taught her an invaluable lesson: the power of one person within a community.
Operated by Margret Henley, Bags of Love provides necessities such as clothes, toys and blankets to needy children who have been displaced.
"Say a family member is charged with something having to do with drugs, and their child is taken from them," Fiessinger said. "That child is taken out of their home, and they can't take anything with them because it might be contaminated."
That's where Bags of Love comes in, Fiessinger said, putting together a handmade bag containing a quilt, personal hygiene items, toys and games.
"We try to give them anything they would have had previously, or maybe some things they've never had before," she said.
"I have been volunteering once a week since the start of my sophomore year, which was over two years ago," Fiessinger said. "Every week, I sort donations, pack bags, cut fabric and organize the storage unit."
Fiessinger has more than 175 volunteer hours within the nonprofit so far. "Volunteering is not a priority for most kids my age, but we're kind of the area that can do the most," she said.
"We're in the schools, and we're outside in the communities, and we're able to do a lot more than people who have full-time jobs."
Fiessinger, the daughter of Jason and Heather Fiessinger, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. Each week in the online edition and Tuesday in the print edition, The Sun features a teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors throughout the region.
Near the end of the school year, one of the students profiled will be named Teen of the Year and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Fiessinger said her involvement with Bags of Love started with a community service project for her civics class, but when she realized that her community needed her help, she stuck around long after the project had been turned in and graded.
"Volunteering at Bags of Love is well worth my time because each year we give 65-100 bags away to children in need," she said. "Most of the time, these children don't have anything, but they are given the necessities through our nonprofit."
She said the nonprofit turned out to be one of the best things for her.
"I get to help my community's children through my time, and I get to help one of my favorite people every week, Margret Henley," Fiessinger said. "Volunteering with them has shaped me into the woman I am today."
By: Emily Smith