When Olivia Lucas arrives in Washington D.C later this summer as a Bank of America Student Leader, she will do so with more in mind than volunteering to sort food for the elderly at the Capital Area Food Bank.

“It caters to all of my interests,” Olivia, a rising senior at Head-Royce School, said. “I’ll participate in a leadership summit, meet with officials, talk with like-minded student leaders and apply the knowledge and skills I’ve learned in high school.”

Olivia’s stop in our nation’s capital is part of the Bank of America Student Leader program, an eight-week summer internship program that connects 225 community-minded high school juniors and seniors from across the country with local non-profit organizations.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is focused on work force education, community development, and critical needs that support community access to food, housing and public benefits,” Jeremey Williams, Vice President of Community Relations, said. “Since 2004, the Foundation has recognized 1,800 students in 44 markets for their leadership, academic excellence and passion to serve their communities.”

Olivia is one of five high school students selected from the Bay Area, and the only one from Oakland. Previously, she’s volunteered as a mentor to middle school students and for the Bay Area Youth Commission Summit Planning Committee, as well as serving as President of her school’s Black Student Union and the Girls To Women Church Youth Group at Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church.

As part of the Oakland Youth Commission, Olivia acted as a youth advisor to the City Council, making policy recommendations that have an impact on youth.

“That really got me interested in government,” she said, “seeing actual legislation and what it does for our community and how little words on paper can have such an impact on our community.”

Olivia has already begun her eight-week summer internship at Junior Achievement of Northern California, an organization committed to educating students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.

“I’m already gaining work experience and learning how a nonprofit is run and organized,” she said. “I’m gaining leadership skills and applying ones that I already have.”

But Olivia’s goals for the future go well beyond the stepping-stone of this summer’s student leader program.

“I’m interested in ameliorating some of the impacts of poverty. Poverty is one of the main issues in violence and crime,” she said. “I think there are so many people who have so much money, and so many more people who have so little money. That shouldn’t be the case.”

After high school, Olivia plans to study political science before enrolling in law school on the way to her dream of becoming a district attorney.

“I’d like to establish a system where justice is maintained, and we’re not just putting criminals away,” she said. “As a district attorney, you’re in a good position to do good in your community and make it a safer place, to advocate for peace. I think being a district attorney would really embody all the ideals that I stand for: justice, community advocacy and civil service.”

However, Olivia isn’t content to sit with her ideals behind a desk in a district attorney’s office, and is envisioning ways to extend her passion for her local community to the world at large.

“My long-term goal, after college and law school, is to provide pro bono legal aid to French-speaking Africa,” she said. “It encapsulates all my interests into one, and at Junior Achievement, they’re giving us the skills to start our own business, skills to follow along and achieve some of my goals of starting a pro bono business and continuing in community service.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.