Jess Fannin, a second year student at Otterbein University, is an energetic and emerging student leader who is passionate about social issues that impact youth in our community. Jess serves as a CardinalCorps Leader (CCL) on campus. As a CCL, Jess leads service programs that meet the needs of our central Ohio community. Over the past year and a half, Jess has been instrumental in recruiting, training, and mobilizing volunteers for various programs. Currently, Jess co-leads Sports Pals, an after-school program where youth learn life lessons through sports. Last summer, Jess served as a counselor at a YMCA camp, an experience that furthered her passion for working with youth. Jess witnessed that camp provided youth with a supportive and loving community, while helping them develop leadership skills. Jess seeks to provide long-term change in the lives of youth through experiential learning opportunities.
I began to realize the importance of focusing on youth and their development when I was in high school. During that time, I volunteered at a behavioral health agency working primarily with kids on the autism spectrum. Through therapy sessions and interacting with the kids, I realized my passion for making a positive impact on children's lives. As part of the Teen Ambassador Board in partnership with the Ohio Attorney General's office, I worked with peers to change policies that affected youth.
In college, I continue this passion by leading Sports Pals, an after-school program where kids learn life lessons through sports. Sports Pals provides youth with a supportive environment, while helping them develop critical leadership and life skills. After graduation, I hope to become a child psychologist with a specific focus on mental health. Youth can experience mental illness, particularly depression and suicidal ideations at a young age. It is important that we create policies and programs that allow youth to share challenges in an environment where they will be believed and supported.