From a young age, Ama Blankson has had a passion for volunteering and community service. Since first moving to McLean County in 2008, she has exemplified what it means to be an active citizen.
After a decade of giving back to her community, the Illinois State freshman received the McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship. Blankson is among the inaugural group of seven students to receive the scholarship, which provides free tuition to students who have a history of leadership, community service, and civic engagement within the county.
“It felt unbelievable to win this scholarship,” said Blankson.
Blankson’s experience in Girl Scouts cultivated her passion for helping others. “We had the opportunity to learn about other people while improving the environment,” said Blankson. “Girl Scouts taught me volunteering doesn’t have to be boring.”
Blankson and her troop frequently volunteered at a local retirement home and engaged in a variety of activities to earn badges, including writing letters to soldiers and brainstorming ideas to improve the community.
Once she reached high school, Blankson found more ways to get involved. As a student at Normal Community West High School, Blankson joined Key Club and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Both clubs enabled Blankson to become active in the community, as she and her peers volunteered at several nonprofit organizations in Bloomington-Normal. They packaged food for the Midwest Food Bank and the Promise Council, served breakfast to the homeless at Home Sweet Home, rang donation bells for The Salvation Army, knitted blankets for Project Linus, and volunteered at The Baby Fold.
“I just like to be out there in the community rather than sitting around at home,” said Blankson. “It’s a good way to meet new people and put myself out there.”
Blankson’s favorite volunteering experience was with The Baby Fold, an organization dedicated to assisting children and families throughout Central Illinois. Blankson helped them set up for the Festival of Trees, a community event during the holiday season. “I had a lot of fun decorating the trees,” said Blankson. “It was rewarding.”
Coming into Illinois State, Blankson is most excited to meet new people and find new ways to get involved on campus. She is interested in joining Phi Gamma Nu, a coed business fraternity that offers a variety of volunteering opportunities. Blankson is also interested in Alternative Breaks, a student organization that takes service trips to communities in need.
Blankson is currently undeclared, but she is taking a wide range of General Education courses to discover her passion. For her time at Illinois State, Blankson already has her goals in mind.
“I just want to learn as much as I can about myself,” said Blankson. “I want to make something of myself at ISU.”
Learn more about the McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship, awarded to new freshmen from McLean County for demonstrating leadership, service, and commitment to our community.