The Community News recently conducted an interview with Success Won’t Wait volunteer Ashley McNeill after she was named Delaware’s Top Youth Volunteer. An excerpt follows, but the interview can be read in its entirety at the Community News
Q What is one key to being an effective leader?
A Figure out how to motivate the people you’re leading. Everybody gets more done when they’re doing what they like. Sometimes it seems impossible, but persistence is always rewarded.
Q What is your single biggest day-to-day challenge?
A Life is a bit of a balancing act. I do a lot with school, activities like newspaper club and National Honor Society, homework, and volunteering for SWW. It can be difficult to find downtime or find any time to write when I get inspiration.
Q What is the best advice you’ve gotten / given?
A “If you don’t like it, change it.” This has always been my parents’ philosophy. And just look at me now. Go figure.
Q What is your secret to happiness/success?
A It’s very simple and a little cliché. But take a lesson from the Little Engine That Could. Always believe that you can do something. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Q Where do you see yourself in five years?
A In five years I’ll just have gotten out of college. I’d really like to find a job in publishing or journalism while I work on what will hopefully be my second book (my best friend Nicolette and I are in the middle of our first at the moment), but I really would like to join the Peace Corps, too. In conclusion, I’m not exactly sure.
Q What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Originally I really wanted to be a dolphin trainer, like the people at Seaworld. But just before middle school I realized that I truly love to write and that being an author would probably be the most satisfying career for me.
Q Finish this sentence, “If I had a million dollars …”
A I’d definitely use some of it for my college education. After that, I’d love to be able to get Success Won’t Wait a better facility and maybe invest in my dad’s business.
Q Finish this sentence “I am …” three ways.
A I am motivated. I work hard in school and am looking forward to continuing my education with a major in English in the fall. I would love to bring SWW to whatever institution I attend and instill a love of reading in every community I get to be a part of throughout my life.
I am an artist. I love to paint pictures with my words. That’s one of the reasons I fit in so well at Cab Calloway. We’re all artists. It creates a different kind of understanding and acceptance between us.
I am green. Thanks to my efforts, SWW now has a recycling program known as the “Naked Book Project.” Books still have educational value even after they can’t be read— the books that are recycled create revenue for a local school.