HARROD — It didn’t take long for Michaela Cosart to understand how important volunteerism was at the Allen County Fair.
“It was really cool to see what happens behind the scenes,” the Allen East senior said. “Without volunteers, it’s just not possible to manage something as large as the Allen County Fair.”
Cosart is one of the 12 local Jefferson Awards winners, and she’s one of the four youth winners. For the win, each received money to donate to a favorite cause. The Lima News will profile each of them between now and the streaming awards show the night of Thursday, April 22.
Cosart has been active in 4-H and the fair for as long as she can remember. Her grandparents and parents were both involved as 4-H advisors and helped with the fair.
Along the way, she’s always respected the impact volunteers made and decided she wanted to help. Whether it’s through an elected post within her 4-H clubs, through the Junior Leaders and later the Junior Fair Board or through helping youngsters learn the ropes of showing poultry or working as a 4-H camp counselor, Cosart’s always been willing to help, said Kelly Coble, of Allen County 4-H.
“She has really taken on that older member role a lot more and has really started helping mentor those younger members,” Coble said. “I feel like she really wants the whole poultry department to excel and exceed expectations. You can tell she enjoys helping the members that are brand new.”
It’s all a matter of living up to the 4-H motto, “To Make the Best Better.” She carries that same passion into Allen East High School, Jacklyn Smith, the director of student affairs at Allen East, wrote in nominating Cosart for a Jefferson Award.
“Michaela is not afraid of a challenge and always performs to the best of her ability in whatever she is doing,” Smith wrote. “She also has a servant’s spirit and wants to continually help others.”
Cosart plans to attend Dickinson College in Pennsylvania in the fall, where she’ll study psychology. Ultimately she wants to become an attorney and return to the region.
“I want to help those people in my community who are going through difficult situations,” she said. “I want to be that person, that should you can lean on, who will be there to help you.”
Coble added, “We are definitely going to miss Michaela when she goes to school. I’m pretty sure with Michaela’s family and their line of 4-H involvement, we will see her helping in 4-H again when she comes back to the Lima area after college.”
Cosart remains grateful for all those shoulders she’s leaned on over the years.
“If it wasn’t for those adults who helped me, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” Cosart said. “Everything I’ve ever experienced taught me that a younger person should be able to look up to me too.”