Red Mountain senior Ayejah Rivera uses creativity to help community

Nov 9, 2021, 5:00 AM
Ayejah Rivera (Photo courtesy Ayjah Rivera)...
Ayejah Rivera (Photo courtesy Ayjah Rivera)
(Photo courtesy Ayjah Rivera)

Red Mountain High School senior Ayejah Rivera has used her creativity and passion to serve her community.

She was assigned a community service project in one of her classes during the spring, and she wanted to create a tradition that could last.

So Rivera called ASA Now, a non-profit organization based in Mesa that aids foster children, and learned it needed birthday supplies.

She collaborated with a friend to start “Birthday in a Bag,” a drive dedicated to collecting birthday cake mix, goodies and party supplies for foster children.

The drive became a school-wide affair, as other clubs jumped onto the idea and started to gather supplies to help out.

“What we did with that is we made about 20 bags that we could give to foster children so they could create their own little birthday party,” Rivera said. “And the rest of the supplies were donated to the organization ASA Now. They use that to create birthday parties in their little house that they have for their organization.”

It’s hard to believe there are enough hours in a day for everything Rivera is involved with.

She dedicates time to several community service outlets, including the Special Olympics. The senior also plays basketball for her school and has managed to keep a 4.3 GPA. She was awarded the Academic Booster Achievement Award from 2019-21.

Rivera had her first experience with the Special Olympics through an organization at her school called Club Diversity. She volunteered at a swim meet.

“Everybody was so excited to be there,” Rivera said. “Just whenever I can find opportunities, like I know they’re doing Special Olympics bowling this month, so whenever I can find it I just join.”

Starting two years ago, Rivera started volunteering at Paz de Cristo, an outreach center in Mesa that feeds people in need.

She goes about once per month to help with their dining service.

Rivera has ideas to help make the experience festive for the holidays by gathering supplies and decorations. For Halloween, she had students write positive messages on pumpkin-shaped cutouts for people to receive at the facility.

At a young age, Rivera’s mother instilled in her the understanding that not everyone has the opportunities she does.

She participated in Christmas Angel with the Salvation Army, an event where one picks a tag off a tree which has a gift listed on it. The volunteer then finds the gift, buys it and returns it to the tree to be wrapped and given to a child in need.

The experience taught her the impact she can have on others and how a little effort goes a long way.

Her days of helping others won’t end at her high school graduation. She has her eyes set on learning psychology in college, potentially at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

“Two years ago, I started counseling, and that really interested me in the field of psychology,” Rivera said. “I want to start studying psychology and see where that takes me. I definitely want to help people in my career.”

character counts

Character Counts is a registered trademark of the Josephson Institute.

Character Counts Nominations

Andrew Roe of Notre Dame Prep high school, winner of the Arizona Sports and Parker & Sons $10,000 C...
Zach Larson

Notre Dame’s Andrew Roe named Arizona Sports and Parker & Sons Character Counts winner

Notre Dame's Andrew Roe was diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis just two years ago and has turned the obstacle into something more.
7 days ago
Sloane Richie (Photo courtesy Sloane Richie)...
Zach Larson

Saguaro’s Sloane Richie using faith to support her community

Saguaro volleyball player Sloane Richie has a soaring GPA, helped turn her team around and volunteered in communities near and far.
3 months ago
Zach Larson

Eastmark’s Isaiah Jackson leaving footprint in school’s early stages

Four years ago, Eastmark High School in Mesa opened its doors to a new wave of students. One of the incoming freshmen back in 2019 was Isaiah Jackson.
3 months ago
(Facebook Photo/Horizon Honors Schools)...
Zach Larson

Horizon Honors’ Liam Proctor determined to fulfill his dream

It's not typical for students to have a career set in mind before making it to college, let alone high school. Liam Proctor is an exception.
3 months ago
Perry High School volleyball's Braelyn Woodworth (Photo courtesy Braelyn Woodworth)...
Zach Larson

Perry volleyball’s Woodworth dominating on courts, in classroom

Perry High School libero Braelyn Woodworth has turned in academic success on top of her volleyball career.
3 months ago
Kaiya De Silva (Photo courtesy Kaiya De Silva)...
Zach Larson

Mountain View golf’s Kaiya De Silva takes school spirit to another level

Kaiya De Silva, a Mountain View High School senior, takes pride in helping recognize all of her Toro classmates and their contributions.
4 months ago
Red Mountain senior Ayejah Rivera uses creativity to help community