Richard Bradley

At 18, Richard Bradley has volunteered more hours than most people will probably rack up in their entire lives. Bradley graduated from St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron and begins classes at Ohio University this fall.
St. Vincent-St. Mary requires 25 service hours a year. I ... tallied over 400 hours over my four years.

All my volunteering started from the NAACP and blossomed out. I was about 4 or 5 when I started helping my grandmother with her work for the NAACP Akron branch, folding letters and licking stamps.

I was passing out cards for a teen expo, and a guy I knew asked me, "What are you doing over here?" When I told him, he said "Oh, you would be doing that kind of stuff," with a negative connotation. I was like, "What? You don't want me to do good?"

The longer I'm with something, the more fun it gets because I get to know the people. I can come in and know their names. We talk about life and about everything. They become my friends.

I've been in private school all my life. But I've had friends who went to public schools and later enrolled in a private school. They said "I thought you guys would be all high and mighty and everything, but you're actually really down to earth."

At college, I want to specialize in entrepreneurship or business administration. ... I think my volunteer work has helped me relate to all kinds of people, and that will help me with my career.

The All-Star Training Club, where we play sports with mentally handicapped youth and adults, has really helped me understand how to be patient and compassionate with people who might be different.

Whenever I'd have a bad day, I'd come in and they'd be smiling all the time. It just made me think that whatever I was going through, life isn't that bad.

Every Thursday I go down to my church, and we serve food to the homeless. They humble me. Some of them were doctors or had other high-profile jobs, and then something happened and they were on the street.

I delivered baskets of food to the homes of victims of crime. Just seeing how thankful they were made me think how lucky I am to have parents like I do and people around me who love me.
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