Leah Watson was already a seasoned volunteer when she turned 18 in September. When she was 15 and new to the community, she wandered into the Game Loft, Belfast, ME's downtown youth center. She was immediately recruited to help with a community supper and she has been volunteering there ever since. She spends at least five hours per week volunteering at the Game Loft. Her talents in organization and clear thinking were immediately valued when people got to know her and she was recruited to be a youth member of the Game Loft board of directors when she was only 15. When Leah was 17 the director of the Game Loft left and the organization soon realized that it was in deep financial and programmatic trouble. Leah organized a group of meetings to recruit parent and community leaders to save the program and it worked. Today she stood proudly at a meeting where the Game Loft was awarded the #1 Exemplary Afterschool Program in Maine. Although she is too modest to ask for credit she is the reason the program is in place today.
In January 2007 when the Game Loft was reorganizing and hoping to re-establish its mission, Leah volunteered to be the office manager. She fulfilled that role as a volunteer until she was hired part-time in March. She went on volunteering for the Loft and is now cooking a daily meal for the hungry teens who gather there every day. Leah decided not to go to college but has continued learning every day. She does so much more than an office manager she is really the assistant director of the program. Every month she organizes a birthday party for any young people born that month. For some of our kids it is the only birthday party they will get. She has worked tirelessly at our first annual appeal, she organized a new administrative system, she is the contact person for our grants, and she keeps the rest of the staff motivated and happy. Whenever anyone needs help or encouragement at the Game Loft Leah is there to help. Leah continues to work as a volunteer board member and to sit on the Program Committee and the Nominating Committees of the Board as well as working two part-time jobs.