South Carolina State Representative and TRIO Alumnus Kambrell Garvin Reflects on the National Student Leadership Congress

South Carolina State Representative Kambrell Garvin: “I want to encourage everyone today that the National Student Leadership Congress was an important program for me.”

Justis: Thank you so much for the honorable Kambrell Garvin, a representative here from South Carolina. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to connect with the TRIO community to share your experience. Please briefly describe to us your current role that you are involved in and what COE’s National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC) provided you for your current leadership position.

Garvin: Awesome, yes, so again, my name is Kambrell Garvin. I am a 2006 alumnus of the NSLC program in Washington, D.C. I went up to Washington, D.C., and had a fantastic experience. Before I get into that, I was elected to serve as a South Carolina House of Representatives member in 2018. I often credit my NSLC experience with laying a foundation for wanting to be a part of public service. I was able to debate bills, and legislation, see how the process works, and interact with elected officials. This was the key to my development as a leader. As a member of the South Carolina General Assembly, I meet with young folks because I know just how formative that experience was for me as a young adult – to be able to have the ability to interact with those who are in positions of decision-making.

Justis: Thank you so much for that answer. What advice would you give to young people who may be on the fence about participating in NSLC, being involved in political engagement or civic duty and engagement, or being involved locally in their school board, for example? What advice would you be able to give to them?

Garvin: Certainly. I want to encourage all the young folks listening to this message today to get involved. It is never too early to start giving back to your school community, local community, state, and nation. We have an opportunity to do some good work. I started as a 6th grader. I was a middle school student, and I ran for my first position as the homeroom representative, and that was my first opportunity to talk to my peers and share why I wanted to be involved. All these years later, those same experiences still translate into my vital work as a member of the General Assembly. I also want to tell young people that their age should never dictate their contribution. Just because you are young or cannot vote yet does not mean you cannot be a part of the solutions to making our world a better place.

Justis: Thank you so much for the kind words and the information bestowed upon the young people. Thank you so much for your wisdom. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any other closing words? This has been amazing.

Garvin: Yes. So, I want to encourage everyone today that the National Student Leadership Congress was an important program for me. It was important because it shaped who I am as a leader. I want all those listening who may be on the fence or unsure if this program is right for them to take a chance and do it. I was a 12- or 13-year-old when I came up to Washington, D.C., met my congressman, and engaged with the TRIO programs at a national level. Now, all these years later, it is an honor to be able to reach back and pay it forward because somebody took the time to reach out to me. I know there are young people out there who, in 10 or 15 years, or even sooner, will be doing the same thing for future generations of young people.

Justis: Thank you so much, Representative Garvin, for your words and work.

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