“From a very young age my parents instilled in me the importance of education and leadership, and I think both of those kind of showed themselves really early,” Kelsey McDowell said.
For McDowell, early was elementary school when, as a third grade student, she ran for student body president.
“I didn’t win, but I still got a position on student council, so I think that really started me on my journey to leadership,” McDowell said.
Now a freshman at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, McDowell is an academic achiever who earned The Charlotte Post Foundation Senior of the Year recognition for her work in the classroom and community.
McDowell wants to be a bridge between African Americans and neonatal health care.
“I strongly believe the greatest thing we can do is start early, and that’s why I’m very passionate about babies, McDowell said. “I feel like if we talk to parents and make sure the babies are on the right track that can get them prepared for the rest of their lives versus starting at the end when you’re older which is more fixing things.”
McDowell found her calling to health care while a volunteer at Levine Children’s Hospital. One of her duties was working in a children’s game room where kids who need a break from their hospital room could go to unwind and relax.
“One day I was cleaning, and this teenage girl comes in the room. I was kind of confused because usually we have the younger kids that come in there,” McDowell said.
“She basically explained to me that I was the only person that was her age and looked like her, she was an African American girl.”
Part of the Post Foundation’s mission is to ensure African American students have a voice in the community. McDowell believes that she can help change the narrative by coming back to her community and being the change.
“I think people that have graduated from schools and coming back and talking to the students at their schools is going to make a huge impact,” McDowell said. “Letting people see that where you are is possible for them. They are able to reach bigger heights.”
Being able to attain harmony in the community can be a challenge for adults, but McDowell believes that communication is key.
“So often we get caught up in only communication with people that look like us but stepping outside of your comfort zone,” McDowell said. “Being intentional about aren’t like you gives us the opportunity to connect as a society.”
Charlotte Post Best Banquet
Date: Saturday, Oct. 5
Time: Event begins at 6 p.m.
Location: Hilton Charlotte Center City, 222 E. 3rd St., Charlotte, NC 28202
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE POST FOUNDATION
The Charlotte Post Foundation hopes to become the premier link to resources and expertise that help create life-changing educational opportunities for African American youth.
There are three components of the Foundation’s mission.
Convening the community with the proper expertise and resources to discuss issues negatively impacting the African American community and help seek solutions that will have positive impact in those areas of health care, education, crime and economic equity.
Applying skills, knowledge and research to assist African American youth with their early educational development.
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