PARKVILLE, Mo. -- As this 2012 season of giving continues, FOX 4's Reaching 4 Excellence segment continues to spotlight young achievers giving back in personal and profound ways. Tonight meet a Northland teenager who got it early on that happiness and meaning in life is all about helping people.
"He's always been a go-getter," says former Missouri State Representative Jason Grill.
"He's a great leader and amazing," says Synergy Services spokesperson Brandy Harrington.
"He's a great organizer," adds Grill.
"He's got strong integrity," says Parkville, MO Police Chief Kevin Chrisman.
"He never says no," adds Harrington.
"He's very committed and he's responsible," says Chrisman. Those are just some of the raves for FOX 4 Young Achiever of the Week Conner Blinzler from just a few of his many mentors and collaborators. Grill saw Conner's enthusiasm for leadership and desire to contribute to community early on. Grill advised Conner as he set up and directed a youth political club at Park Hill South High School where he's now a senior.
And even earlier than that, when he was still in grade school, Conner created a support group of children to promote Grill's election campaigns -- Juniors for Jason.
"It's very unusual," says Grill of Conner's early strong interest in political activism. "He was always there, whether it was knocking on doors, whether it was putting up yard signs, whether it was organizing people at his high school or his grade school."
"Most of the general public might have been confused as to what I was doing," says Conner with a chuckle about how people reacted to a grade-schooler doing high-level election campaigning, "but I knew I was making a difference."
Making a difference and helping people are Conner's two driving ambitions in all of his service and leadership at school,in charity work and in community service, including as a top member of the Parkville Police Department Explorers. That's a youth volunteer and career exploration program for teenagers interested in law enforcement. Conner shows up constantly to help the Parkville PD in everything from radar patrols to traffic and crowd control at the historic town's many festivals.
"He's got character and he's very honest," says Chief Chrisman. "You give him an assignment with the Explorers program and he works it to the end."
Now Conner is adding another important role to his extensive community service involvement. He's getting orientation to volunteer with at-risk teens and children at the Youth Resiliency Center of Synergy Services, a broad-based agency that works to eliminate family violence, abuse and neglect.
"I feel just at a very young age I got the concept of helping people is good and helping people helps everyone," says Conner. Several years ago, Synergy came to the rescue for Conner and his younger sister and their mom. The agency provided valuable help in a difficult family challenge and Conner hasn't forgotten. Recently Conner received one of the region's top community service honors for teens, the Northland Community Foundation's Virjean Burton Youth Philanthropy Award.
It came with $1,000 for Conner to present to the charity of his choice -- and he didn't hesitate in giving it to Synergy Services.
"Because it helped us out so much in the past," says Conner, "it needed to be given back to them. I applaud them for everything they do for all, the counseling services, everything they provide for everyone."
"His leadership in Synergy and within our community," says Harrington, "really just sets the example for other people and really sets the precedent for people to step up and be part of our community." An amazing young man going full speed ahead to a future of helping people.
You might have guessed from Conner's intense involvement in the Parkville Police Explorers program for teens that he's charting a course for a law enforcement career. He hopes to do that one day at the highest federal levels and later get into political and government leadership -- as well.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.