by NonaLisa Lederach
Youth Board Member from Wesley United Methodist Church in Fresno, CA
Greetings SSP family! My name is NonaLisa Lederach, and I am one of the new youth members for SSP’s Board of Directors. I am a senior at Buchanan High School, a densely populated public school in Clovis, CA. When I was a year old, I was adopted from Yichun City, China, and brought to the United States to be raised in California. My family consists of my parents, Beth Lederach and Lori Clanton, my sister, Eliza Lederach, and my two dogs, Berkeley and Auggie.
As an active community service volunteer, I enjoy giving back to the community, helping the impoverished, and supporting those who may not have a safe place at home. I participate in the “Circle of Friends” program at the local hospice center, Hinds Hospice Center for Grief and Healing, and I am involved in the Gay Straight Alliance Club at my high school. The “Circle of Friends” program encourages high school and college level students to become “special friends” to a child who has lost somebody close to them. As “big” special friends, we are trained to become a safe person with whom a child can trust with their emotions during this difficult time. Also, I participate in the GSA club, which serves as a safe spot for those who do not necessarily feel accepted at home. As an activist for LGBTQ+ rights, I believe everybody deserves equality, no matter who—or what—one is.
SSP has been nothing short of an incredible experience.
SSP has been nothing short of an incredible experience. I have attended SSP for the past two years, and I hope to go next summer as well. The first year—the summer after my sophomore year— I traveled to San Diego, CA, with my church. Although I was a little nervous to embark on this new adventure, the experience was absolutely life-changing. Not only did I meet some amazing people, but I also broadened my perspective of the world. In San Diego, my work team repainted a house in an urban area and worked with San Diego Canyonlands in a nearby neighborhood. As a privileged valley girl, this was the first time I had done any kind of intense physical labor, and boy was it exhausting.
I think that was what was so amazing about my first SSP experience: realizing that the world is much bigger than it seems and that one should be grateful for what she has. Working for a straight five days of the week was truly a humbling experience—something I had never experienced before. I became aware of how lucky I was to have a nice house to come home to, a great school to be educated from, and a beautiful neighborhood to live in. This past summer, I traveled to Smith River, CA. Similar to my week in San Diego, my experience at Smith River could not have been any better. I met some intelligent and inspiring people, served a fantastic community, and strengthened my faith. SSP is truly a life-changing experience.
I am so excited and grateful to be able to serve on the SSP board this year. After high school, I plan to attend a University of California school or private college for my undergrad degree and major in political science with a minor in international affairs. By working with the SSP Board, I am not only bettering my leadership skills, but I am also broadening my perspective on the world. Eventually, I would like to attend a prestigious law school and earn my law degree, possibly becoming a civil rights lawyer or working in the government. SSP’s mission, which is to provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to grow their faith and serve others, is exactly how I want to impact the world. I am overwhelmingly thankful to be a part of something so amazing.