April Jefferson Award Winner A.C. Parham

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH)-- April's Jefferson Award winner first started doing volunteer work as a teenager.

Anne Catherine Parham, who goes by A.C., used to deliver food for Meals on Wheels which is where she got an appetite to help people...make their voices heard.

As a high school student, A.C. took helping people with homework to a new level.

"One major thing is I would volunteer in schools and um help Hispanic parents and teachers who were not Spanish-speaking -- really bridge that communication gap. So I would serve as a translator as well as a tutor for the children."

A.C.'s passion to help others was passed on by her maternal grandmother--an immigrant from Panama.

Her grandmother volunteers with the Upstate Hispanic Women's Association and A.C. followed in her footsteps.

A.C. also learned about barriers that other's faced while studying Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina.

"I believe that regardless of the nation you hail from, regardless of the color of your skin, that you should be able to have access to that American dream without all of these barriers."

Looking beyond current circumstances--is something A.C. learned from her father's side of the family, who grew up very poor and knows the importance of giving back.

Her father taught her that no matter where you come from it's always important to make good decisions so A.C. began volunteering to help register voters.

"Well, I'm a firm believer that a vote-less person is a hopeless person and it's very important that if you can vote that you do vote."

A young woman on a mission to build hope, A.C. will be starting law school in the fall at USC.

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