Wrangler News salutes
Marilyn Ly: At 17, she’s already a volunteering veteran

By Jon Valentine

Service and scholarship consistently have been the most important aspects of 17-year-old Marilynn Ly’s life, and her hard work is beginning to earn her some well-deserved dividends.

Ly, a 2004 early graduate of Corona del Sol High School, was recently named Tempe’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. She has been volunteering since 1999 when, at the age of 12, she started her service career offering her time for the Tempe Public Library’s Summer Reading Club.

Since then, Ly has worked at a variety of volunteer positions for the city of Tempe, including service at the library’s Youth Corps program as a junior page, the Tempe Historical Museum as an exhibit hall aide, Kiwanis Recreation Center and Escalante Center.

Ly’s years of service were recognized April 1 at the Tempe Mission Palms, where she was awarded the city of Tempe Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. Candidates are eligible for the award only if they have volunteered for a city of Tempe program for a minimum of 25 hours, which the candidates generally far exceed.

Mary Anna Bastin, the city’s volunteer-services coordinator, says that this year’s competition was unusually tough.

“In the past, we haven’t had as many nominations for the award, so it was a bit easier to pick the winner,” she said.

“This year, we had five nominations, and all five would have been good choices, but Marilynn won.”

Every candidate had similar service histories within the city of Tempe, but Bastin says Ly likely was chosen winner because of her continuing commitment to service even away from the library or museum.

“Marilynn founded a student service club at Corona called S.H.A.R.E (Students Helping Actively to Reach out and Enrich) and organized some service projects for its members,” Bastin said.

In addition to this honor, Ly was featured during June as The Arizona Republic’s VoluntHERO for her efforts.

Bastin says she considers Ly an example for teenagers in the community to follow.

“I think it’s remarkable that someone has devoted five years of their life to serving the community, especially because she is only 17 and that is such a big part of her life,” Bastin said.

Ly continues to volunteer this summer, working at her usual post in the library and the historical museum.

When the summer comes to an end, however, Ly will travel to the University of Southern California to begin her first year of study in college.

In April, Ly was accepted into a prestigious program at USC that allows early-graduation high school students to finish their remaining high school requirements while earning college credit at the same time. Only about 30 students are accepted into this program annually.

And although Ly looks forward to her collegiate career away from home, she will always have the wonderful memories she had the opportunity to experience through her volunteering efforts.