BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Recent Ridge High School graduate Devyn Riddle has been able to turn her penchant for horses, creativity and literacy into service projects throughout her teen years.
At the age of 9, Devyn began riding at Lord Stirling stables and later moved to Clover Fields Farm, where she was able to help the residents of Mt. Bethel Village experience therapeutic horseback riding.
"Some of the residents are shy and somewhat scared of the horses at first, but by the end of the summer they make tremendous progress and are proud to show off their riding skills to their families at the seasonal show," Riddle said.
As a project for Destination Imagination (DI), Devyn and her team donated books, audio books, hula hoops, kickballs and supplies to the second-graders at Oliver Street Elementary School in Newark. DI is a program for teaching the creative process through open-ended challenges in several fields. Devyn's team chose to focus on service learning every year. She enjoyed witnessing the direct impact of her team's efforts by enabling kids to utilize audio books at home to improve their literary development.
Riddle has always enjoyed reading. She selected to support the global non profit Room to Read as her Bat Mitzvah community service project. She continued her work with Room to Read well beyond her Bat Mitzvah, as a founding member of the Room to Read Club at Ridge High School, and becoming president of the club her senior year. She also received the Bronze Community Service Award as a Ridge senior for volunteering more than 100 hours in a single year.
College offers a new frontier and engagement opportunity for Riddle to continue her commitment to service. She has elected to partake in an optional orientation focused on community volunteering for three days before regular orientation begins.
The spark for service that began with Riddle as a young girl has grown brighter as she has matured and embraced ways to explore and enjoy extracurricular activities and charitable giving simultaneously.