Savannah Vogler is a 17-year-old senior at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and the co-chair of Infant Crisis Services’ Teen Associate Board. ICS is an emergency food and diaper pantry for babies and toddlers in crisis, and the non-profit organization was one of the first in the metro to have a teen volunteer program and then a teen board. Since the board’s inception in 2002, students have donated $758,000, the equivalent of four million diapers. Savannah also helped start and continues to serve on the Teen Board of Smart Start Central Oklahoma, using organizational and leadership skills honed from her experience with ICS to benefit even more young children in the metro.
In addition to giving back to the community, Savannah juggles honors classes, serving as senior class vice president, involvement with Student Council and National Honor Society, cheerleading and planning her future. Savannah said her parents are always putting others before themselves, modeling for her and her sisters a lifestyle they hope to emulate.
What drew you to volunteer for Infant Crisis Services?
I heard about the summer teen volunteer program from a friend several years ago and immediately applied. We work three days a week over summer break, spending half the day working in the warehouse and the other half playing with and holding babies. I’ve always had a special connection with kids and babies and that’s what really drew me to the organization and keeps me volunteering there. My sister and I are now part of the after-school program, so one day a week we help out after school. We clean, restock bins in the playroom and organize the warehouse for the next day so everything is ready to go for the staff, volunteers and clients.
What have you learned by serving on the Teen Board?
It’s my third year to serve on the Teen Board and I’m co-chair this year. It took some courage to run for co-chair, but I really like doing things like this—helping with something big and making a difference. Infant Crisis Services is such a well-led and organized place. I’ve learned a lot about leadership skills and organizational skills over the past three years.
What can guests expect at the Teen Board’s auction and fundraiser this year?
The auction will be in April at the Farmer’s Market. Our theme this year is “Baby, You’re Out of this World” and we’re working hard to get invitations out and all our decorations planned. Our goal is to raise $100,000 this year.
How has giving back to your community morphed from just required school service hours to a true calling for you?
When I first found out about McGuinness requiring service hours, I didn’t know how I could do it. I started volunteering at Infant Crisis Services and my eyes were opened by how I was actually helping people. It just made me want to volunteer more, regardless of the service hours. Everyone there is so grateful. I get told “thank you” so many times during a day and I never really know what to say … it’s like, of course, anything I can do to help I want to do. Sometimes I get in the car and it takes a few minutes to just process and think through everything that happened that day. It’s made me realize that in my lifetime I want to make a larger impact and help eradicate poverty in children.
How would you advise other kids to get involved in the community by volunteering?
You have to find something you’re passionate about. For me, I knew that was kids.
What’s your favorite class in school?
Math is definitely my favorite subject. The STEM program at McGuinness has really caught my eye this year. We had to interview to get into the class and this year we’re building a robot and learning to program. It’s definitely something I may want to do in the future.
How do you manage school, extracurricular activities and your community service?
I’m very organized and I really have to have a plan and set goals to reach. I can get stressed out easily, so I have to find time to relax. I’m really close with my family, so I like to just hang out with them or my friends to relax.
What are your plans for after high school?
I’ve been accepted to University of Oklahoma and Arkansas and I’m waiting to hear back from a couple more colleges. San Diego is pretty high up on my list. I’ve visited and it’s amazing. There’s something about starting fresh and doing something I’ve never done that excites me. I’m thinking about getting degrees in business and biology. I know I want to do something with kids, maybe become a pediatrician, pediatric surgeon or build prosthetics for kids.
What two words best describe you?
Trustworthy and hard-working.