Amaya Garcia-White Buffalo
Amaya Garcia-White Buffalo, 13, of Antonito, Colo., an eighth-grader at Centauri Middle School, launched her “Wolf Pack Unity Project” to encourage students to respect and value themselves, others, their elders and the environment. Since she was a little girl, Amaya has helped her older siblings with volunteer projects that have collected everything from school supplies to hygiene kits to sports equipment for children in need. But when she was in fifth grade, she decided to start her own volunteer initiative after seeing “so-called friends” bully a classmate. “When I defended the classmate, they started to bully me,” said Amaya.
Rather than stay silent, Amaya arranged to deliver a presentation to her class about character and bullying. It was such a success, she was allowed to address the entire school. She then began speaking at clubs, organizations and other schools, while distributing bags that promote good character decisions, containing bracelets, pencils, bookmarks, pins, activity books and a pledge certificate to stand up against bullying. Amaya also has conveyed her message by sponsoring a high school basketball game and hosting a unity dance for middle level students. In addition, she encourages friends and family members to help keep clean a mile-long stretch of highway that her Wolf Pack Unity Project has adopted, and to volunteer at senior centers. “Our actions today can affect generations to come,” said Amaya. “If we can show respect and value others, it will solve many problems in society that we face.”