I believe that it is important to give back so people can make an impact in the world. If I did not do anything to make the world a little bit better who would?” Eighteen-year-old Santia Williams of North Providence has asked herself that question, and through her acts of kindness has demonstrated to the world that she is the answer.
“I have found that it also makes my life a lot more positive. It makes me feel good and helps me grow every day. My way of doing that is simply through kindness and making sure that the people I surround myself near, know that I am always willing to do anything that helps make their day better,” states Williams.
Now in their third year, the Metta Students non-profit foundation awards $1,000 grants to students who pay it forward or #sharemetta. To date, they have awarded $44,000. Wednesday, May 31st, the Metta Students Foundation had an award ceremony at North Providence High School located at 1828 Mineral Spring Ave, in North Providence, RI. Members of the media attended.
Norm Kelly, founder of Software Quality Associates in Providence, created the Metta Students Foundation in October of 2012 after learning of one teen’s act of kindness toward another teen. “Metta means love and kindness,” states Norm Kelly. “We are thankful to all of our winners for making a positive difference in the world and for helping us spread the Metta mission to simply be kind and #sharemetta.”
National Honor Society Adviser, Jill Usenia, nominated Williams saying, “I’ve noticed that Santia actively seeks out people who look lost or like they need help and she has a warm, caring nature that people are drawn to. I have witnessed her help a new student adjust to their new setting, sit with new kids at lunch, show them where their classes are, etc. all on her own accord. I have also witnessed how gentle and caring she is with the Special Needs students. She has the type of personality where people enjoy being around her, and she seems to anticipate those who are in need.”
For the past three years, Williams spent her time volunteering as a mentor two days a week at her high school's Writing Center to assist her peers with their struggles. In that time, she has also been a mentor in the SOS peer mentoring program working with incoming freshman that may have trouble adjusting to high school either academically or socially. She is also involved in Teaching Pathways, which is a class that allows seniors to work with kids with intellectual disabilities. Williams is also a member of VAASA (Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse), a club strictly for varsity athletes who vow to not do any drugs or alcohol. The club visits middle schools and talks to younger students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
It is for all of these reasons that the Metta Students Foundation is proud to have awarded Santia one thousand dollars.