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A Cadet’s Crusade To Inspire Youth

by Stefanie Senkow
October 30, 2018

A Cadet’s Crusade To Inspire YouthNEW LONDON, Conn. -- It all started with a paper on sex trafficking. During her fourth class year, First Class Cadet (1/c) Maya Gause explored this topic and, after analyzing her findings, decided that it was her humanitarian calling to set young minorities up for success.

“Through my research I discovered how incredibly vulnerable elementary and middle school-aged children are, especially minorities in inner city areas,” said 1/c Gause, who is majoring in Government at the Academy.

Upon discovering that her college’s hometown of New London is a heavily populated minority city, the Jacksonville, FL native wasted no time making an impact. With the Academy’s support, 1/c Gause restarted New London’s Boys & Girls Club, an after-school mentoring program for inner city elementary and middle school children.

”Developing these relationships with kids that don’t have a mentor and don’t have anyone at home to talk to has changed my outlook,” said 1/c Gause. “Showing someone that you care or simply asking about his/her day, whether it be a child or someone out in the fleet, can make a world of difference and help them perform better.”

And improving performance is only the beginning. 1/c Gause has dedicated most of her Government-major-related research to topics such as improving inner city education by training teachers on a student’s culture, correlations between household income and teen pregnancy and studying the psychology behind teenage decision-making. Her current capstone project includes working with the criminal justice division for the state of Connecticut to study the impact of the system on minorities.

“I want to have a direct impact on improving local education systems in my home state someday,” said 1/c Gause. “Whether it’s me being on a school board or being mayor, I see myself making policy changes at the local level. Also I’d like to be a motivational speaker for those vulnerable elementary and middle-school children that need a positive role model.”

Until those big plans become a reality, 1/c Gause continues to motivate and inspire as a cadet, meeting with one 4th grader and one 5th grader at Winthrop Elementary School once a week to lend an ear as a mentor.

“The way I communicate with these kids has taught me how I can mentor my subordinates –using the same tactics to talk to my company and serve as a mentor for underclassmen at the Academy. These skills can translate to adults. Everyone wants someone to listen and wants someone to care,” said 1/c Gause, and that’s the approach this leader of character will take with her into the Coast Guard and beyond.