Be the Change: Under Her Wing

Sometimes making a difference in the world can be as simple as volunteering for a local non-profit.

Chelsea Warren says, "I've always loved wildlife. I'm a biology nerd."
When she's not at school -- 18-year-old Chelsea Warren can most likely be found at the Black Hills Raptor Center, volunteering a couple of times a week.

She cleans up, feeds the birds, and her personal favorite:
Warren says, "When I get to train birds, especially Ina, which is my favorite bird. We're training her to fly from perch to perch without a leash."

Dedicated to doing what she loves, that's how people who know Chelsea would describe her.

Maggie Engler says, "I gave her her orientation and she came back the next time and asked 'how many days a week can I come?' And I thought oh, we've got a good one here."
But it's not just working with the birds that Chelsea loves --
Warren says, "I don't have a lot of family here. The Raptor Center has become a real family to me, along with the birds. They're just a real supportive awesome group of people."

She's soon spreading her own wings to study biochemistry at the University of Minnesota after graduation.
Chelsea is hoping to make a difference in more than just a non-profit, perhaps even in the lives of students as a professor.
Warren says, "I have a teacher who came back from a science career to teach students just so that they could make a difference in the world."

Her colleagues at the Black Hills Raptor Center have no doubt that she'll soar.
Engler says, "At some point I'll be saying my friend Dr. Chelsea Warren, biochemist extraordinaire."

Since she's already shown how high she can fly here in Rapid City -- even being selected as a finalist for South Dakota's top youth volunteers in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Engler says, "She's just extremely dependable and extremely reliable. That is very refreshing in today's world."

Chelsea says she plans to volunteer at a raptor center in Minnesota when she gets there for school.