September 2016 - AGP Student Highlight
High school senior Katarina Kalaouze is a familiar face on the football field cheering Allen Academy to victory, but in addition to her love of her team she’s got an even bigger heart for helping others in the local community. In addition to her activities at school, Katarina volunteers her time with a number of community-based organizations.
“I would hope one day to be even more involved than I currently am,” Kalaouze said. Right now I am limited because of my studies, but I definitely love to see how what I have done has helped impact people in these kinds of ways.”
Kalaouze helps both single moms and children with down syndrome, working with Single Moms for Change to provide women who have been in abusive relationships resources and encouragement leave those negative relationships, in addition to volunteering with Handwriting Without Tears to teach children with down-syndrome to write better. Both experiences have been eye opening for Kalaouze.
“My volunteer experiences definitely made me realize how I want to teach my own kids and it’s made me appreciate things more because I’ve seen the struggle other people have gone through,” Kalaouze said. “I appreciate that I was a healthy child and I didn’t have anything that would hinder my education, but also from working with the single moms for change how amazing my family is and how appreciative I am of them and my home environment.”
Kalaouze initially got involved with Handwriting Without Tears because one of her fellow cheerleaders had a brother who had down syndrome that would regularly attend games. After learning more about the organization from her friend’s mother, Katarina decided to devote more of her time there and balance it with her other activities. Kalaouze also partner’s with Empty Bowls through a club she started at school to help provide for the homeless.
“I feel like the independence I’ve had at school has really helped and the fact that we’re able to start our own clubs and follows our interests. I was able to start an Empty Bowls club where we make bowls out of recyclable materials, sell them for ten dollars and then the money goes to provide for the homeless.”
As a senior, Kalaouze is currently in the process of applying for colleges. As an AGP student, Kalaouze was initially put into contact with AGP through her sister who was also an AGP student. Kalaouze was able to work with AGP to provide her with guidance but also to help connect her to her current volunteer experiences.
“I’ve been a student of Robb’s for all four years of high school, ,” Kalaouze said.” He’s definitely helped me get volunteer opportunities and helped me make more calm about the college admissions process.”
Kalaouze has several schools in mind, including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin, but she is making sure to keep an open mind. Kalaouze is wanting to major in business and pursue a minor in education, with the idea of one day becoming a wedding planner.
“I’m really exciting to see where I get in and where I’ll be going next, Kalaouze said. I’m hoping to do something related to my own event planning business, which in relation to my interests now would be something like a wedding planner. I’ve always had a passion for weddings and I love organizing and planning things out so I’m excited to follow that passion and see where it takes me.”