Get to know Tori Jean! Tori is a sophomore from Athens, Alabama, studying exercise science for pre-occupational therapy. She chose this major, switching from pre-dentistry, after helping children with special disabilities through Storybook Farm. She was nominated by Kenzie Lambert, who said, "I admire Tori so much because she is extremely passionate about Storybook Farm, and she dedicates so much of her time to helping others, all while keeping fantastic grades and being a truly amazing friend." In fact, Tori is so passionate about Storybook that she helped create a new campus organization, Students 4 Storybook.
What inspired you to get involved with Storybook Farm?
"I have been riding horses since I was about 6 years old, and I always enjoyed helping with the special needs unit throughout middle school and high school. When I came to Auburn and heard about Storybook, I knew I had to be a part of it because it incorporated two things that are very close to my heart. I started out volunteering one day a week first semester, and I enjoyed it so much that I volunteered twice a week last semester!"
What’s the best part about working with Storybook?
"Storybook continues to be the best part of my week over and over again!!! It allows me to take time away from schoolwork and to be a light in the kids’ lives. I get to greet families, bond with the kids, form friendships with other volunteers, and be around so many amazing people. I love seeing the kids have fun and forget about their struggles for a few hours. It has been amazing to see firsthand how Storybook has changed so many lives, including mine."
Tell us about helping to create your new club.
"Storybook Farm is a non-profit that runs solely on donations. Last year, my Freshman Leadership Program (FLP), LEAP, helped fundraise for Storybook. When we found out that the Freshman Leadership Program was going away, we realized that there was not going to be an on-campus organization to advocate for Storybook. So, my FLP directors and I got together and realized that we wanted to make a new organization directly for Storybook called Students 4 Storybook. This new organization will host fundraiser events and allow others to hear about how to volunteer at Storybook. I am so excited to be serving as vice president this year, and my hope is to see Students 4 Storybook flourish by the time I leave Auburn!"
"AOII has brought me some of my best friends who have been a constant encouragers throughout my journey with Storybook! These friends know how much Storybook means to me and they are so excited about my new organization- many of them have even started volunteering with me and have even joined the new organization! I would not be where I am today without the constant love and support from AOII." -Tori Jean