SOAR 2020: Leilana's Lanyards
The “Pay It Forward” movement has made its way to San Antonio, TX through the heart and smile of ten-year-old Leilana Delgado. With the help of her teacher, family and friends, Leilana was able to design lanyards with encouraging images and messages that have been distributed to almost a hundred people in the community.
What began as an act of kindness turned into an exciting opportunity when Leilana was nominated to attend Education in Action’s Lone Star Leadership Academy next summer. CAVALRY’s CEO, Dr. Tracie Edmond, got word of her good deeds and offered Leilana a scholarship that would aid towards her fundraising efforts for this youth leadership camp that assists in developing lifelong leadership skills like team work, creativity, communication, problem solving and action. Leilana took on the challenge to become our very first SOAR Super Star which is titled to youth who individually take on mission-focused service projects. Through CAVALRY’s SOAR program, elementary and middle school students take on various service challenges that impact underserved areas of San Antonio. Upon completion, the participating schools get recognized and rewarded for their hard work and dedication to our mission to impact lives and positively change the world.
However due to COVID-19, SOAR in schools was not attainable this year but luckily adopted by and achieved with the project behind Leilana’s Lanyards. Thanks to her friends Lily, Sophia, Adrianna and little sister, Kela who helped make and decorate the lanyards, Leilana and her mother Monica would spread the joy around the city and distribute them during their outings. “Since she was little,” says Monica, “she has always been empathetic towards others and made them smile with her joyful and bubbly personality.” Though some days seemed harder than others, Leilana learned that she had to remain positive during this project and whether someone accepted a lanyard or not, she was still planting a small seed of encourgement. “I loved to see all the different reactions that people gave me just from walking up to them and encouraging them to share their smile,” Leilana shared. Leilana’s Lanyards single handedly achieved this year’s SOAR efforts which all stemmed from a fifth grader’s desire to “share a smile” and uplift others during this stressful and uncertain time.
Leilana’s vision to make a difference by inspiring people to stay positive has earned her CAVALRY’s SOAR Super Star title for her leadership abilities and efforts to spread kindness.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Leilana strives to follow in her parents’ footsteps and will be attending NEISD’s DATA Middle School next year. Their Design and Technology Academy is a magnet program that emphasizes career and professional readiness in the fields of Architecture, Visualization, Computer Science and Scientific Research.
CAVALRY congratulates Leilana for her commitment to spreading joy and making a positive impact! Should you find yourself receiving a lanyard on your next errand run, we encourage you to post a picture using the hashtag #LeilanasLanyards.