Shannon Roberts, adviser for Mason County High School’s Future Career and Community Leaders of America, and MCHS student Erin Hasler discussed the purpose behind FCCLA at the Maysville Rotary Club on Tuesday.
According to Roberts, FCCLA is represented in all 50 states. The students serve their communities through volunteer and activism.
Roberts said the program also provides leadership opportunities and scholarships.
She touched on the volunteer aspect of FCCLA by telling the Rotary members that as a nation the value of volunteerism is $25.43 per hour. In Kentucky, the value is $21.42 per hour.
“Last year, our FCCLA kids logged 2,000 hours of community service,” she said. “At that hourly rate, our kids provided more than $42,000 of community service to the area.”
Hasler, who is the Kentucky Vice President of Community Service for FCCLA, talked about two issues in which FCCLA students are raising awareness of across Kentucky.
One of those issues is sepsis.
Hasler gave Rotary members information on the Sepsis Alliance.
According to Hasler, her hope for the year is to raise at least $15,000 to donate to Sepsis Alliance.
“Sepsis is a life-threatening response to the body’s overacted toxic reaction to an infection. It can result in tissue failure, organ damage or even death,” she said. “Some signs of sepsis include a fever, previous infection signs, confused, sleepiness, pain and discomfort. If you see signs getting worse, you should go to the hospital and get it checked out. Sepsis Alliance was created to raise awareness and fund raise for a cure to sepsis. It was also created to show the signs of an infection turning septic.”
Another issue the FCCLA is working on raising awareness this year is mental illness.
Roberts showed a news clip about Taylor Rae Nolan, who was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky when she committed suicide in January.
Nolan’s mother, Taylora Schlosser has worked to raise awareness about mental illness by creating an organization called Rae of Sunshine.
“Rae of Sunshine is another community service project for the state,” Hasler said. “As you could see in the pictures, Taylor was wearing one of these red jackets, too. When she was in high school, she was a state officer. She battled mental health issues and those anxieties that come with that. Her mother didn’t want to make her suicide the last chapter in (Taylor’s) story.”
Hasler said Rae of Sunshine spreads the message through the SMILE initiative. SMILE stands for story, make, manufacture and motivate, illuminate, light, leadership, legacy and energy.
“S is your story. She wants you to share your story,” she said. “I is illuminate. They want you to illuminate a room. This is Taylor’s Legacy. Taylor wants you to know that it’s OK to battle those mental health issues, but it’s also OK to get help.”
Roberts said Nolan was like any other person.
“She was full of life and showed very little signs of anything going wrong,” she said. “Taylora was one of those people who really did light up a room when she walked into it. She passed away on Jan. 8 and on Jan. 7, she had just started a job at iHeart radio. She had texted her mom a picture of her office. She had her planner all mapped out for the semester. She was ready for that year to begin and for her, the following day, to make that kind of decision that — even as a not very close acquaintance to her family — still struggle with today, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for that family. Taylora challenges us to step out of our box and to spread awareness of mental health. She says ‘if you had strep throat, you would go to the doctor and no one would think anything about it. If you have an issue with mental health, go to the doctor.’”