Scarlett Reyes’ compassionate nature has brought her all over her community and across the world.
“As a kid, my mother would always tell me, ‘If you had a bad day, find a way to make it better for someone else and good will come to you,’” she said.
The Mount Vernon High School junior has taken her mother’s words to heart ever since. For the past three years, she’s worked for Richmond Highway-based non-profit Christian Relief Services as an intern, focusing on providing transitional housing for Fairfax County families whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. Reyes worked alongside Christian Relief Services’ president/CEO Bryan Krizek and executive director/general counsel Del. Paul Krizek (D-44).
“Everyone at Christian Relief Services loved working with Scarlett. She had lots of administrative duties,” Paul Krizek said. “I know that she is a wonderful and generous young person.”
Reyes has also assisted in the organization’s Running Strong and Bread and Water for Africa projects, which provide necessities for American Indian communities and African youth and their families, respectively. She traveled to Zambia during her spring break last year to work at one of the charity’s orphanages and support nearby villages.
“The children loved her,” Krizek said.
Having spent most of her high school career thus far helping those in need, Reyes was recognized for her work with Christian Relief Services when she received a Fairfax County Student Peace Award in March.
“My recognition came as a surprise to me,” she said. “It was my first time having something like this occur so it was very exciting.”
Reyes is also a cadet in the Mount Vernon Marine Junior ROTC, and has received multiple awards this year for her service in the program. In February she won a statewide competition held by the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Her essay on the topic “How JROTC made me a better United States,” along with her school and community activities helped earn her the award.
To Reyes, it all comes back to the inspirational words of her mother years ago.
“With everything I’ve done, it’s not only rewarding to the people I helped, but it was also rewarding to me as I met amazing people and had the ability to create great experiences,” she said.
While she is forever thankful to those who have helped her through it all and honored to have received the award, she hopes to achieve one goal in all of this: to inspire others to do the same.