Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Kayla, Luciana and Aimee
All Articles

Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Kayla, Luciana and Aimee

At Rustic Pathways, we know high school students have the power to change the world. They have the potential to make dynamic and lasting impacts on the lives of countless individuals.

Those who have the desire to help others and get involved in their communities have what we call “Rustic Spirit”. They want to make the world a better place and their actions speak louder than words. Read how these teens are making a difference in the world.

Kayla Gelston
Age 16
Stargate Charter School
Broomfield, Colorado

While volunteering at the Children’s Hospital Colorado, Kayla noticed the positive impact the staff, volunteers, and gifts of toys and books had on the kids receiving treatment. She isn’t old enough to work directly with the patients, so Kayla partnered with her varsity volleyball team and started a toy drive at her school so the hospital could continue to gift kids toys throughout their treatments. After two weeks her school donated 220 toys to the hospital and Kayla plans to make the toy drive an annual event.

Kayla plans to major in biology and pursue a pre-med path. For fun she enjoys playing volleyball, skiing, cooking, and spending time with friends. She also looks forward to volunteering at the hospital and spending time with the children there.

Kayla says that no action is too small. Even something as simple as making cards or playing board games with people in your community makes a huge impact on the people around you and can brighten their days. Always believe you can make a difference.

Luciana Requena
Age 17
Manhattan Bridges High School
New York, New York

Luciana is an active member of her community and school. At school, she’s been involved in student government and the leadership team, assisting with school events, managing student-led events and being a voice for her class. During the pandemic, many students had trouble understanding school material taught virtually, so Luciana started to tutor computer science students 1-on-1. She has continued tutoring and stays after school to help her peers.

Luciana plans to major in computer science and minor in bioinformatics. She aspires to work at Google and also give back to her community–specifically to young Latinas and expose them to the world of technology and the endless fields it has. Luciana also hopes to one day bring technology to schools in Peru, where she was born and raised. In her free time Luciana enjoys working on personal projects such as making an app or learning how to code.

Luciana advises other students who want to make a positive impact to take action. If you see a problem, be the first one to speak up. Never be afraid to do the right thing, because the outcome will be worth it.

Aimee Pelayo
Age 17
C.K McClatchy High School
Sacramento, California

Aimee is involved in her school’s yearbook program and criminal justice magnet program. For the yearbook, she does all the photography to represent the active campus life. Students in the criminal justice program do community service with the Sacramento Police Department and Aimee recently helped out with traffic management for The California International Marathon.

In college, Aimee wants to major in criminal justice and behavioral psychology. In her free time she enjoys playing and watching sports, reading and trying new things.

Aimee encourages others to always believe in themselves. Change won’t happen without believing that you can make an impact. We are all capable in some way, somehow.

Nominate a Student

Do you know a student doing valuable work that deserves to be recognized? Nominate them here! Are you making an impact? Tell us about your work here.

Make Change

Interested in creating change in your community? Check out our guide and learn how to make an impact as a student.

At Rustic Pathways, our goal is to make positive contributions to the communities we visit through responsible travel operations and community service projects that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.