LA MIRADA – Volunteerism for 17-year-old Justine Rosenberg of La Mirada started seven years ago when her cousin was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But it didn’t end there. Rosenberg, a senior, has spent the past four years at La Mirada High School giving her time to help poor families, or going to middle schools to help educate students about the dangers of drugs. Now Rosenberg has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The award is well deserved, said Oscar Diaz, founder and adviser for the high school’s Positive Alternatives Outreach Club, who also nominated Rosenberg for the award. “She’s just a leader,” he said. “She puts everything together. If we have something going on, I can depend on her. She strives for nothing short of perfection.” Rosenberg joined the Positive Alternatives Outreach Club as a freshman and is now the club’s chief executive officer. She also belongs to the school’s Key Club and is the senior-class representative on the school’s Girls League. Rosenberg has sung Christmas songs at school assemblies, talked to middle school students about not using drugs, delivered baskets of toys to the low-income families, and worked at pancake-breakfast fundraisers. Principal Don Jones said she is the epitome of the student volunteer. “She’s always trying to help,” he said. Rosenberg said she started volunteering after her cousin’s diagnosis. “It’s really been tough on the family, but it’s inspired me to try and do everything I can,” she said. Her father, Lon, became involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Justine followed right along. “We have walks and stuff for the association. I was 16 when I became a counselor at muscular dystrophy camp, where you’re assigned a camper for a week. I really kind of dove right into it,” she said. When Rosenberg entered high school, she joined the two campus service organizations. She also has performed in several plays and also was varsity song captain this year. Somehow, she manages to easily fit volunteerism into her school schedule and other activities. “I have a little black book. It’s my calendar that tells me where I’m supposed to be,” she said. “It’s tough and I’m tired a lot. But I just keep smiling. “I feel that one of my purposes in life is to give back to those who aren’t as blessed as I am,” she added. Rosenberg said she would like to attend USC after graduating later this year. She wants to become a psychologist or a psychiatrist. “I would be still helping people,” she said. “That’s when I’m happiest – helping others.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!