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Karen is a dreamer who takes action, assuming leadership roles in her community to solve systemic issues, which she started doing early on in her life. She was appointed to two youth advisory boards, where she helped select organization and club opportunities for her northeast Denver community and also aided in providing solutions for statewide teen obesity issues.
Her teachers selected Karen as one of six students for an entrepreneurial service trip to East Africa, where they collaborated with a number of social enterprises to create a clean water curriculum for local schools. She shared her experiences after returning to her high school to convey the importance of serving, rather than fixing, and also highlight that any students can pursue positive engagement with the world. She said: “I did the most when I simply listened and learned from the Rwandans and Ugandans. Sometimes in our desire to help, we often hurt communities because we assume we know best. We should listen more.”