This archived article was written by: Christine Olsen
Brett Johnson, a sophomore from West Jordan, has been involved in service since high school. He was first inspired to help others when he saw the movie Pay It Forward and has been volunteering ever since.
“I volunteer because I get to help others, even if it is something small. It will impact their life and hopefully they will begin to serve others,” Johnson said. He has helped many SUN Center projects including mentoring at-risk youth, serving at Bread ‘n Soup nights, Habitat for Humanity, Breakaway Club and Head Start. He also served as a SUN Center leader over the After School Club last year and is the student leader over Breakaway Club this year.
Besides volunteering Johnson enjoys spending time with his friends, buying new clothes and snowboarding. He is the youngest of three children, loves Italian food and is majoring in pre-medical. Johnson’s favorite class is anatomy and he wants to be a pediatric oncologist so that he “can help kids during hard times in their lives and try to improve their health and quality of life.”
Kathy Murray, one of Johnson’s instructors, said that he “always has a smile and adds a bit of color to the world of service. Brett is always willing to jump in and help no matter what the project is. He is very outgoing and just an all around great guy!” His most embarrassing moment was when he presented an award to someone at a high school convention. “I stepped back so she could accept the award and backed into the American flag. It went flying off the stage and the Eagle on top of the stand landed in the punch bowl,” he admits.
This year Johnson is the SUN Center student leader over the Breakaway Club. Breakaway is an alternative spring break in which students spend their spring break doing volunteer work outside of Utah. Members of the club do one service project and one fundraiser a month in order to prepare for the trip. He was a member of the club last year and traveled to Long Beach, Calif..
“We did beach restoration, conservation cleanups, wetlands restoration and read to children at an elementary school. It was a blast and we were able to accomplish our mission.” This year Breakaway’s destination is Mexico and due to the large interest in Breakaway Club, there will be a selection process to narrow down applicants. “I am excited to be the president of Breakaway this year because it’s a great club to be involved in. It gives students something to do over spring break and we are able to really help others and hopefully make a positive impact on their lives,” he said. Johnson has the following advice for fellow students, “CEU is a small school so get involved in all the activities and live it up!”