Collier County teens recognized for community service, leadership

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Abby Grensing and Ruth Bellevue. (Provided to WINK News)

Two Collier County teens spend their free time improving the lives of people in our community. From helping children with special needs to helping feed families, they both have a long list of community service and are now adding “Bank of America Student Leader” to their resumes.

The smiles on the faces of one group of Guatemalan children are what Abby Grensing says made her fall in love with helping others.

“I went on a mission’s trip to Guatemala that completely changed my life and being there kind of gave me the idea of wanting to get involved in my own community,” she said.

So the Marco Island teen created a leadership club at Lely High School.

“I also volunteer at Empty Bowls, Naples,” she said. “Personally, I love making people smile.”

For Ruth Bellevue, gratitude motivates her to give back. Her family moved to Immokalee after earthquakes devastated their Hati home.

“My community, I wanted to get involved because they have really helped me,” she said.

Now, she seeks out those in need to help however she can.

“I started volunteering at the library and I’ve had over 400 hours of service,” Bellevue said. “I’ve been a tutor at different elementary schools, I would go and volunteer with special needs kids.”

“I’m so proud of Ruth and Abby and the contribution that they’re already making,” SWFL Bank of America President, Gerri Moll.

She says those contributions are what led to naming the Collier students as 2020 Bank of America Student Leaders.

“We’re recognizing them for their achievements and it also comes along with a financial award and along the way they get access to job skills,” Moll said.

Skills these teens plan to use toward bettering their future and ours too.

Both students will spend the summer participating in the Bank of America virtual leadership program. Both plan to use the new skills and connections they acquire for their career and their community’s service.

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