Incoming Palmetto High School senior Isabella McNeil is the co-founder of a student run community service organization called Lotus Miami. The organization was created about a year ago.
“We are focused on donating feminine care products and books to organizations such as Kristi House,” she says.
She and co-founder Hailey Zambrana researched advocacy centers and discovered that what is most needed by the women at the centers are feminine care products and books – including coloring books for children.
“It’s something both my partner and I can do to help our community as well as provide community service hours,” she says.
McNeil says it’s crazy how expensive feminine care products are.
“You go out and see people who don’t have the financial ability to buy these products,” she says. “It’s heartbreaking.”
They try to collect and deliver the donations every two months. They have drop boxes for the donations, one located in Pinecrest and the other near downtown. When they get enough donations, they drop them off at Kristi House.
Currently they have are helping Kristi House, but she expects to branch out, adding other shelters like Lotus House and Camillus House.
“Unfortunately, the situations advocacy centers, such as Kristi House, strive to eradicate, continue to persist,” she says. “The purpose of our project is to help provide access to certain products for people in these situations. We are beyond thankful for our partnership with Kristi House, as they allow us and our community to help those in need.”
This is something she is very passionate about. Which is why she intends on continuing this service throughout college.
At school, McNeil is in the Leo Club, the club that conducts blood drives at Palmetto.
“We donate it to the hospitals in need,” she says.
She says there were a lot of blood donations this year, which really helped the community because there was a blood shortage.
Students who donate blood received community service hours, a tee shirt and snacks, and contributed to their community.
Last summer, McNeil did an internship for the Global Impact Leader program.
“It’s a non-profit organization in South Africa, where students gain leadership skills while working on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development worldwide,” she says. “The agenda is created by the United Nations.”
Her internship area was the Friends for Asia Foundation. During the internship she created a medical infographic poster that was put in the inside the Bangkok children’s ward.
This summer her plan was to focus on getting things together for her college application and keeping things going for Lotus Miami.
She’s considering applying to the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of South Florida, Northeastern, and Boston University. She wants to major in philosophy or political science.
McNeil won the Forensic Investigation Academy Outstanding Junior Award at Palmetto’s end of the year awards ceremony.
She says FIA is academically strong and has fantastic teachers.
“This academy centers around investigation which is something I am highly interested in,” she says.
This past year she was required to take an Advanced Placement Research class where she had to work up a thesis.
“We came up with a topic, a question and we did the research and analysis and create a paper,” she says.
Her topic was on how literary heroines have influenced modern women. Her research showed that Jo March, from the classic Little Women had the most influence.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld