Samarah Higgins is focused on volunteering her time to help underprivileged youth.

Two of her main community volunteer activities are being a mentor at Mis­ters and Misses of Distinction (M.O.D.) Squad in Rad­cliff and tutoring at Mission Hope for Kids in Eliza­bethtown.

The Bluegrass Mid­dle School eighth-grader said it’s rewarding to work with youth in these programs.

“You can see these kids grow from the time you first know them,” she said.

Higgins, 14, of Rad­cliff, said she can see how their needs change.

Over the past few years, Higgins has considered doing a variety of things in her future. But after working with these programs, those ideas changed.

“I’ve considered being an edu­cator or child psychologist lately,” Higgins said.

Being involved in the community and seeing these children have shown Higgins how much she enjoys working with youth in need.

She continues that giving mindset at school by creating the Kindness Club. The club, Higgins said, encourages classmates and teachers to smile at others while encouraging generosity and kindness towards peers.

“When COVID hit, there was a cloud lingering over my generation,” she said.

Higgins said she has noticed more depression and anxiety in students.

She wanted to give teens some­thing positive to let them know they are not alone in the world.

“Samarah truly conveys the meaning of respect and deep care for others,” said Amanda Rowlett, a language arts teacher at Bluegrass. “She demonstrates both on a daily basis when interacting with her peers, teachers and community.”

In her writing, Row­lett said Higgins has a profound approach.

“Her details invoke emotions and inspire others,” Rowlett said. “Being her teacher is an honor and one of the many highlights of this school year.”

Higgins said she enjoys being involved with clubs but COVID has put an end to a lot of that at school. She is involved with Beta and Kindness clubs and tutors younger students.

With all the stress of schools going back and forth between in-person and online learning, Higgins said she tries to maintain a positive outlook. There are children around the world that have a much harder time having access to their education, she said.

Her band teacher, Joshua Mitchell, called Higgins an “exemplary” student.

“She is very hardworking and has a level of commitment that is hard to come by for someone at such a young age,” he said.

Higgins said she’s fortunate to have a good home and family to help her succeed in life.

Her father, Quinton Higgins, speaks around the country as a survivor of the 1988 Car­­rollton bus crash that killed 24 children and three adults on a Radcliff church bus. Higgins often travels with him and to help promote his mission against drunk driving.

Her dad does a lot in the community, she said, and influences her in her community activity. One of her first volunteer activities came from his encouragement.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.