Just a brief conversation with Amber Graff reveals she has a very giving heart.
Amber, the 16-year-old daughter of Scott and Pam Simpson of Martinez and Mark Graff of Augusta, feels compelled to help others in need. She even sponsored a foster child who she hopes to help have a brighter Christmas.
"I like helping out other people who sometimes need help," said Amber, who has volunteered the past three summers at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. "It's giving back to the community."
It's no wonder that the Evans High School junior is considering a career as a pediatrician.
An A/B honor roll student, Amber began volunteering at Doctors Hospital because she wanted to help others, and felt that the experience would help her determine whether medicine was a career field that interested her.
From her hospital volunteer work, Amber met Lynn Reese, director of volunteers and youth services for the American Red Cross' Augusta Chapter.
Evans High School student Amber Graff is on the American Red Cross Youth Board.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Reese said she immediately knew that Amber was a dedicated young lady.
"Due to her leadership ability and commitment to helping others, Amber was invited to serve on our Red Cross Youth Board, which plans and overseas Red Cross Youth activities," Reese said. "The Youth Board serves the Greater Augusta area through community service and assists in various Red Cross functions throughout the year. As part of her Youth Board activities, Amber has assisted with fund-raising, volunteered at hospitals and nursing homes, worked with children in foster care and participated in numerous other community service projects."
Amber recently has begun tutoring students at Augusta Urban Ministries, and visits patients monthly at Gracewood State School and Hospital as part of her Youth Board volunteer work. She has spent the past four Thanksgivings helping family and friends at Vineyard Community Church in Augusta prepare and deliver meals to needy families.
"It just makes me see what I have and they don't have," said Amber, who has been on the Evans High volleyball team for the past two years. "It makes me appreciate what I have - family, clothes and people I can talk to."
C.C. Armstrong, Evans High's volleyball coach, called Amber a trooper.
"Even while injured, she made it through try-outs and made the team," Armstrong said. "Needless to say that she had surgery and could not play all season, but she went through the pain to make the team."
Armstrong said Amber, who is a member of the school's Beta Club and Student Council, also is a concerned and dedicated student who does well in her studies.
"She is the type of young lady our schools should be made of - sugar and spice and everything nice, strength and endurance and intelligence too," Armstrong said. "Plus, she is charming, trustworthy, friendly and considerate."
Reese described Amber as a dedicated volunteer and a good role model for younger board members.
"She is self-assured, bright and welcomes challenges," she said. "She is also friendly and personable and an asset to any project or endeavor with which she is involved."
Aside from volunteering and volleyball, Amber clogs with Augusta's Footloose and Fancy Free Cloggers, a group her mother founded in 1981. Amber, who attended her first clogging competition when she was only 2 and has been dancing for 14 years, was named a member of the 2002 All-American Clogging Team.
"I don't have any children of my own, but if I could chose my own kids, she would rank among the first 10 picked," Armstrong said.
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