Meghan McLees is an impressive student leader and role model for others. She cares deeply about helping others, inspires others to volunteer, and encourages them to pursue leadership in service. She has always been involved in service and enthusiastically dove in when she arrived at University of Mary Washington (UMW). She quickly became a student leader in several service organizations, including Circle-K and Alternative Service Breaks. Meghan also worked with a tutoring and mentoring program at her local homeless shelter, the Thurman Brisben Center. She is a member of a student-run service organization called COAR (Community Outreach and Resources) which creates service opportunities for other UMW students. She has also helped build and repair homes through Habitat for Humanity. She also co-led a weekly volunteer program at UMW during her time as an undergraduate student. She was a student leader for the UMW early arrival program called NEST (New Experiences for Students Transitioning) and helped lead over 100 students in a morning of service.
Meghan has shown leadership in recruiting other volunteers, coordinating with community partners, and providing transportation to volunteer sites. In addition, she co-led and prepared educational materials for elementary school children in the Stafford Junction Brain Builders program, where she volunteered for more than 60 hours last year. Meghan also helped recruit volunteers for this program and when she graduated, ensuring that two student leaders would continue the work after her departure.
With her work on the Alternative Service Breaks program, she was innovative in thinking up fundraising projects, including the “FUNd Fair,” which successfully raised additional funds for another service trip. She also participates in a COAR day of service each month, leading student volunteers in weeding a community garden, picking up litter, and cleaning cages at the SPCA. This was an additional 18 hours of service that Meghan earned, for a total of 108 service hours documented last year.
She is passionate about her volunteer work, and remained active even during the pandemic, tutoring children online. Her experience working with children from a range of backgrounds ignited in her a desire work in the public schools as a school counselor and she will be attending graduate school this fall to pursue that interest.
Meghan’s service will have a lasting impact on the many children and families. Just as important, her leadership during and after the pandemic helped revive several service programs at University of Mary Washington.
“Meghan is a hard worker, a creative problem-solver, and is dedicated to her volunteer work, enthusiastic about tackling new challenges, and full of intellectual curiosity,” says Kasey Morello of the Center for Community Engagement at UMW. “She is also committed to community service in a variety of ways and is thoughtful about addressing social problems.”