Dasia Bandy, the 2021 Military Child of the Year® for the Navy, first aspired to be president of the United States when she was 7 years old. As commander-in-chief, she reasoned, she could order her father home from deployment with the U.S. Navy.
Now an 18-year-old freshman studying international affairs at The George Washington University, Dasia still aspires to be president of the United States – after serving in the U.S. Senate. However, she views her potential impact through a wider lens of advocacy, particularly in youth activism.
Dasia’s father, retired Petty Ofc. 1st Class Lee Bandy, served as an operation specialist aboard the USS George Washington, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and on the USNS Big Horn. During his 20-year career, he provided support for the U.S. and foreign countries. Though the family never had a permanent change of station, Dasia, her three younger siblings and their mom, Dayna, endured a total of 60 months of deployments.
During her father’s absences, and because her mother worked full time and often extended hours, Dasia shouldered responsibilities for added chores such as cooking and cleaning at an early age. She also was in charge of getting her brother and two sisters up and ready for school and then overseeing their homework after school.
Despite the challenges of having her father gone for long periods and saying seemingly constant good-byes to friends who were PCSing with their families, being a military child offers many advantages, Dasia said.
She credits those challenges for giving her resilience that helped her shift to a positive mindset when feeling suffocated by the isolation of the COVID-19 quarantine.
“My family, my friends, my mentors, and my school helped me throughout this struggle by reminding me that I was not alone and by encouraging me to tap into my creativity to create change,” she said. “Because of the love and support that I received, I was able to stay involved and be creative to redefine my purpose and to not let confinement get the best of me.”
Dasia knows her life has been enriched by opportunities to learn and understand various perspectives through diverse lenses. The Bandy family hopped aboard Space-Available flights to see the world and experience other cultures. Dasia understands the value and importance of diversity and inclusion.
She co-founded her school’s Multicultural Club, the first of its kind, in response to a traumatizing incident at school that was racially motivated. Dasia was determined to unite students and build bridges of hope to eliminate negative biased behaviors in her school and community. She also proposed plans to school administrators for increasing minority student participation in advanced courses and for diversity and inclusion training for teachers.
In her academic life, Dasia soared while balancing the rigors of Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment courses with extracurriculars like forming a new club.
In addition to serving as an all-around student leader and earning academic accolades such as the AP Scholars Award and letters of recognition from state Congressman while competing on the Grassfield High School varsity gymnastics team, Dasia served as a compassionate servant leader for the community.
While maintaining high scholastic achievements, she logged about 1,000 hours of volunteer time working last year with organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Norfolk chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., and Chesapeake Youth Advisory Board.
Before launching her career as a public servant, Dasia aspires to educate and empower young people about holistic health, emphasizing physical, mental, social, spiritual, and financial well-being. She is determined to make her mark on the world and is especially passionate about creating an environment to nurture young leaders and youth activists.
In her free time, Dasia enjoys hobbies such as scrapbooking, dancing, reading, writing, and listening to music and podcasts.
“Someone is always watching.” – African Akan proverb that reminds us to maintain integrity
- Grassfield High School Multicultural Club co-founder
- Grassfield High DECA District President
- Unilever, Dove’s Self-Esteem Project, Global Youth Board Member as U.S. Representative
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Volunteer and 2019 National Military Youth of the Year
- Jack and Jill of America Inc., Mid-Atlantic Regional Teen Vice President; Norfolk Chapter teen president
- Parent Magazine contributor
- Norfolk Federal Bureau of Investigation Trainee Summer Program Participant, teen spokesperson
- George Washington University Student Association, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion
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Read the other 2021 recipient profiles: