An eager freshman about to head off to college two years ago had so many things running through her mind. One of those things being to find what she is passionate about. Little did she know, that she would find just that thing one month into her four-year journey.
Now a junior, Harleigh Turner of Rome, Georgia has dedicated her time and heart to an organization on campus known as UGA Miracle. She currently serves as the Pink Color Group Captain, and has served as the Community Outreach Committee Lead in the past. Turner is a positive light wherever she goes, and is always making those around her happy. It is clear the passion she has, not only for UGA Miracle, but also for everyone in her life.
In August of her freshman year, Turner heard there was going to be an informational meeting for an organization called UGA Miracle. She decided she would attend the meeting to learn about more opportunities on campus. It was that night that she decided to become a team member and dedicate her time to UGA Miracle. What really motivated her to join was hearing the inspiring stories of children who had been to the hospital in Atlanta and seeing how passionate all the members of the Executive Board were. She knew she had made the right choice.
Immediately, Turner looked for any opportunity to help her get more involved. She became a member of the Community Outreach Committee and helped put on mini dance marathons at local high schools. This allowed her to spread awareness about an organization she truly loved.
“Sometimes I wish I could have the power to heal anyone with my hair like Rapunzel from Disney’s “Tangled,” but then UGA Miracle wouldn’t need to exist but at least everyone would be healed,” said Turner.
This year, as a color group captain, Turner helps facilitate the “Making The Miracle” program at the beginning of the school year. She also volunteers at Tate awareness days, works fundraising events, and attends all UGA Miracle events. Her main job is to provide opportunities to all who are not on a committee to get involved with the organization. She also leads trips to the Duluth Outpatient Rehabilitation Center once a month.
What inspires Turner when working with UGA Miracle is the families served through UGA Miracle. She invests every opportunity she can into the families of UGA Miracle.
“These families help put life in perspective which is the greatest gift a college student can receive,” said Turner.
Her dedication to this organization is clear through all her efforts and time she spends in the Miracle Office. Those around her, elders and peers, have nothing but positive words to describe her.
“The thing that is easiest to notice about her is her passion for Miracle and her commitment to the people around her,” as said by Miracle Graduate Advisor, Rachel Rhodes.
Not only has UGA Miracle become a passion for Turner, it has also changed her life and future goals. Turner came into college determined to be a first grade teacher. After talking with a particular family through UGA Miracle, she decided to change her major to human development. Her goal is to work for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as a Child Life Specialist.
“After working with Harleigh through UGA Miracle, it is clear this is what she is meant to do for the rest of her life. She is so passionate about the children and families who come through the hospital,” said Hospital Relations Committee member, Emma Weese.
Turner is already working hard to prepare for the biggest UGA Miracle event of the year, Dance Marathon. This is a twenty-four hour dance marathon that Turner describes as “one big birthday party for all the children.” Her favorite part of the event is seeing the total amount fundraised revealing at the end. She encourages everyone to come out and spend some time with the amazing kids and families of UGA Miracle.
“Seeing those smiling faces and seeing the enormous number make the sleep deprivation, sweat, and countless hours fundraising 100 percent worth it,” said Turner.