Alexann Zahara wants to teach others the importance of being themselves by simply being herself.
“For as long as I can remember, I've made it my mission to allow people to be their true selves without shame,” she said. “Seeing the spark in their eyes when they begin creating things for themselves... that's my reason. Believing in the ones who don't quite believe in themselves.”
At the Livonia YMCA, she gives lessons to youth about gymnastics and the importance of trying something new, even it is out of their comfort zones. During Alternative Spring Break, she helped renovate living spaces for low-income families so they could have a comfortable, safe space to call home. And she encourages tweens and teens to get into the spotlight through her assistant director role for a local production of The Wizard of Oz.
As a student on campus, Zahara, who’s worked at the Women's Resource Center as an office assistant for three years, is in the Honors Program and the Psychology Honors Program. She received the Honor of Academic Excellence in French twice. And she received the Emerging Leader Award through her participation in Student Government, where she served as a senator and as a member of various SG committees, including mental health and wellness, public relations, and sexual assault and public safety.
“I don't think I can single handedly change the world,” she said. “What I do know that I can change is the lives of the people around me, even if only in a small way. And I think that's a really good start.”
Her dream career combines her two passions — psychology and the performing arts — to do drama therapy, a clinical psychology method, with children and teens. By using theatrical principles such as role-playing and improvisation, participants, many of whom have learning or developmental disabilities, improve social skills and self-expression.