A Pocatello teen was recently recognized for her volunteer efforts.
Alina Rahim, 17, received the Gov. Cecil D. Andrus Volunteer of the Year award in Boise on Wednesday.
The Idaho Nonprofit Center and Serve Idaho honored Rahim and two other volunteers — Bill “Action” Jackson and Mary Robinette — during the annual Idaho Philanthropy Day awards in November, but COVID-19 prevented an in-person ceremony at that time. So officials decided to honor Rahim while she was in Boise this week.
Rahim says she tends to focus on the small rather than the large outcomes of her work, so it meant a lot to her to receive statewide recognition.
“Having that recognition proved to me that what I’m doing is worthwhile and change is happening whether I see it or not,” she said. “It’s difficult to envision change when you’re doing the hands-on work in the moment.”
But Rahim’s efforts are making a difference in her community and the world around her.
She and her sister, Fatima, co-founded the Youth Activism Society (YAS) a few years ago to get youth engaged in politics, volunteer work and other community-based efforts.
Today, Rahim serves as the director of the society that has expanded across the country with chapters in Idaho, Utah, California, Texas and Michigan. She says they’re working on starting another chapter in New York and there’s even been some interest internationally.
“To take an initiative that started in Pocatello, which no one has ever heard of, and expand it across the nation is amazing to me,” Rahim said, adding that Idaho has been her home for 16 years and she’s excited to shine a spotlight on some of the good things happening in the state.
Locally, Rahim is most proud of YAS’s efforts to raise $4,200 for the Idaho Foodbank’s Backpack program, which provides food-filled backpacks to students in need to ensure they have enough to eat on weekends. YAS Idaho raised enough money to fund 672 backpacks.
Rahim has also found other ways to volunteer. She’s worked at the local soup kitchen, organized reading and writing camps for children on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, and assisted at medical clinics in Nepal among other activities.
Rahim says she’s grown up with a give-back mentality and it’s important to her to use the privileges she has to help others. And she enjoys the chance to build relationships with those she comes in contact with as she strives to make a difference in her community.
Rahim encourages other youths to put themselves out there and get involved in volunteer work, and she says it’s OK to start small.
“You can’t change the world, but if everybody tries to do a little something, (we) get closer to that,” Rahim said.