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Annie Wilkinson: From Launch Pad Teen to Future Dentist, A Journey of Growth and Confidence

Meet Annie Wilkinson, a vibrant soul whose journey from shy high school freshman to confident university junior exemplifies the transformative power of community support, particularly through her involvement with The Launch Pad Teen Center (TLP).

"I grew up in Prescott and graduated from PHS in 2021," Annie begins. "When I was in middle school, I started hearing things about The Launch Pad from some classmates. It wasn't until my brother got involved that I really understood what The Launch Pad had to offer me and the community of Prescott."

Annie's involvement with TLP began in 2017, but it was when she joined the board of directors in 2018 that she truly blossomed. "Especially coming into The Launch Pad board of directors as a freshman in high school, I was definitely on the shy side," she recalls. "Over the three years I was there, I grew into myself. I learned the aspects of successful business management, public speaking, and how to be a good team player."

Through her experiences with TLP, Annie learned valuable skills that have shaped her academic and personal journey. "Even today looking back, I am impressed with my younger self who had to give big speeches to tons of people, although every time I felt like I was going to faint. It helped me overall gain the confidence that I have today with public speaking in the classroom and outside of it."

Annie also highlights the impact of her peers at TLP, emphasizing how much she learned from their experiences. "I learned how much an impact a place like The Launch Pad can have on someone," she reflects. "It wasn't until I started making friends through The Launch Pad that I understood the magnitude of the impact it can make on someone's life."

For Annie, TLP provided more than just a place to hang out—it was a safe haven where she felt supported and encouraged to grow. "Every time I felt shy or anxious in meetings or with my speeches at fundraisers, everyone was kind and encouraging," she shares. "I always felt like I had an amazing support team who believed I could do it even when I didn't believe it myself. It allowed me to grow into myself and become a confident person today."

Reflecting on her journey, Annie emphasizes the importance of TLP in the Prescott community. "Being a teenager is hard as it is with all the switching moods and all," she notes. "Having a safe place that is always there and welcoming is important for everyone."

Now a junior at the University of Arizona studying neuroscience, Annie is pursuing her dream of becoming a dentist. 

Annie's story serves as a testament to the profound impact of youth programs like TLP in shaping confident, resilient individuals ready to tackle the challenges of the future. With her unwavering spirit and dedication, Annie is poised to make a positive impact in the world of dentistry, all thanks to the support and guidance she received from her TLP family.