Stats: 17, senior at Hopkins High School in Hopkins, Michigan
- Girl Scout Gold Award
- Crowned Miss Hopkins
- Varsity Softball
- National Honor Society, Vice President
- Student Council, Treasurer
- Bible Club, leader
- Presidential Service Award
- Young Person Role Model of the Year
- Employment at Fat Blossom Farm
- Girl Scouts, thirteen year member (K-12)
- West Michigan Flute Association
“If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. To me, this means find out what you believe and stand firm in that.”
How it Began:
So many of us want to change the world, but how many of us are actively taking steps to see that change? Haley Gilder, senior at Hopkins High has dedicated over 100 hours networking with farmers to provide fresh vegetables to food pantry and food ministry recipients in her local community. This initiative launched from a Girls Scouts project to serve the community, but Haley decided to go above and beyond what was required and established a program built to create lasting results. Her efforts have reached over 60 families last summer and she’s distributed over 950 bags of fresh produce to the homeless.
“It felt good to be able to make a positive difference in my community,” said Haley.
Haley not only goes above the standard in her community, she also applies that same work ethic in her other involvements. At Hopkins High, she is a dual enrollment student that manages to maintain her academic good standing as an honor roll student even with a college course load. She’s the Vice President of the National Honor Society chapter, Treasurer of the Student Council, and head of the Bible Club. She also received the Most Improved Player on her varsity softball team and has earned the Presidential Service Award, Young Person Role Model of the Year from Allegan General Hospital's Spirit of Women Program, and been crowned Miss Hopkins.
“I can't talk about achievements without adding a huge life achievement that is important to me: committing my life to Christ. Although being a Christian can be hard, knowing God loves me is incredible,” said Haley.
Haley dreams of becoming a speech pathologist.
Haley says her mom is “always on top of things” and has always been there for her as a motivator and support. “She pushes me to do my best, but is always willing to help. I admire her servant heart. I definitely would not be the person I am today without her,” said Haley.
Believe it or not, having dinner together as a family on a regular basis can create a lasting impact on teens. Just ask Haley, who values when her family makes room in their busy schedules to eat together. “It's important to me because I enjoy dinner time with my whole family. I know some on my friends don't sit at the table. They sit in front of the tv, or they eat dinner in their room alone. Dinner time is family time at my house and I'm proud of it,” said Haley.
Haley’s mom, Lisa Gilder has led by example. “I am a busy volunteer, employee, and most of all, mother and wife,” said Lisa. “I know that I have shown her how to make things happen - how to break a large goal down into smaller goals and how to be organized and efficient in getting those items done. That includes making lists and timetables for actions she needs to take.”
Parent to Parent:
Lisa’s mother didn’t go to college and her father was an educator. Lisa says she was urged by her mother to pursue her own interests. “It surprised me then to find out the thing I wanted most to be was a mother and wife. My job is secondary to that,” said Lisa.
Her parents taught her to be content with the simple things in life, and advices other parents should “read to them early and often and educate yourself about child development.”