Name: Abigail Naumann
City: Lake Station
Volunteer position: Activist
Where they volunteer: Lake Station Community Schools, Raise it for Health, Voice Indiana, The Eagle Foundation and Abby’s Step-by-Step NWI
What they do: Abby is passionate about educating people on the dangers of gun violence and tobacco use. Through her nonprofit, Abby’s Step-by-Step NWI, Abby is able to speak to wide audiences about preventing gun violence. She also created The Eagle Foundation, which puts on fundraisers to help Lake Station Community Schools raise funds for necessities. Abby recently participated in a rally with The American Cancer Society, where she spoke up against big tobacco companies.
Why they volunteer there: When Abby’s grandmother passed away after years of tobacco use, Abby realized what a negative influence big tobacco companies have on our everyday lives. In 2014, a young family friend was a victim of gun violence. Faced with these tragedies, Abby decided to use what she could to make a difference: her voice. “I wanted to get David’s story out there. There are too many people in the community — in the world — who share the same story.”
How long they have volunteered there: Abby began volunteering three years ago, when she was in seventh grade.
Insights gained from volunteering: Passion should drive volunteerism. “It’s not about the recognition. It’s about passion and engaging people. When you step up, you’re giving others — and yourself — the confidence to step up, too.”
Abby has also realized that her work is part of something much bigger than Northwest Indiana. Tobacco use and gun violence are issues around the world. “No matter what you do, there’s always a bigger picture.”
Advice to others who might want to volunteer: Activism and volunteering is all about stepping up to the plate. “Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Your voice is your power,” Abby said. “If you know you want to step up, that’s all you have to do. You’ll never be alone; there will always be people there to help you.”