Westchester is fortunate to have young high school volunteers who strive to make a difference in their communities. Their efforts have been duly noted, and today, County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that 10 of them from Ardsley, Croton-on-Hudson, Mamaroneck, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Thornwood, Yonkers and Yorktown Heights have been selected as recipients of the Westchester County Youth Board’s 2013 Milly Kibrick Youth Service Awards.
The students will be honored at a dinner Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Davenport Club, 400 Davenport Ave., New Rochelle, where they will receive various gifts and a plaque.
Here’s more information from the announcement:
The Milly Kibrick Youth Service Awards are given in memory of Milly Kibrick, a prominent county social worker and youth activist, who dedicated her life to helping underprivileged children. During her career and in retirement, she was the quintessential social worker, social entrepreneur, volunteer and political activist, pursuing social and economic justice for children of all ages.
“Milly selflessly devoted her life to helping underprivileged children and was the driving force in many campaigns for the youth of Westchester County. She made a lasting impact on our community,” said Astorino. “The honorees for the 2013 Milly Kibrick Service Awards emulate Milly’s giving spirit. Their work in their communities has touched the lives of many individuals. At a young age they have managed to accomplish great things.”
The aim of the Youth Board’s awards program is to recognize high school seniors of the Class of 2014 who have been involved in building a flourishing, strong and compassionate community through individual efforts and actions.
The Westchester County Youth Board Honorees for the 2013 Milly Kibrick Service Youth Recognition Awards are listed below. (Please note information is based on nomination forms.)
Modia Alexandre lives in Yonkers and attends Academy of Medical Professions at Charles E. Gorton High School.
Modia has participated in the Lincoln Lancers Walk for Orphans with AIDS, volunteers at the Saint Joseph Nursing Home and is part of the recreational therapy program for the elderly.
At school Modia participates with the school’s annual coat drive, helped to raise awareness against domestic violence by selling wrist bands that say ‘love shouldn’t hurt’, is the Coordinator of the ‘Wolf Pack’ mentoring program, President of the school’s Wellness Center and is currently the Vice President of the student government. At the annual blood drive at her school through the Red Cross, Modia assists the donors with registration and was also part of a focus group for the Living Science Museum for kids which will be located at the Westchester Medical Center. Last but not least, Modia is the Vice President of a group of students who are creating an organization called the STEM Sister Academy.
Naomi participates in the Independent Science Research Program at Gorton High School, helped create an anti- bullying initiative called the Prep Squad, is a member of Sister to Sister International’s STEM Academy where she serves as president since its inception the summer of 2012. Naomi has also competed in the NAACP’s National ACT-SO Competition as a gold medalist in poetry for the Westchester Region.
Naomi is also a volunteer at Youth Theater Interactions, a performing arts school in Yonkers.
Christine George lives in Yorktown Heights and attends Yorktown High School.
Beginning in her freshman year, Christine joined Bridges to Community and has traveled to rural Piedra Menuda, Nicaragua to build two affordable and safe cinder block homes for impoverished families and to a Dominican Republic town bordering Haiti with the intent to work with local masons on a new elementary school. She has taught soccer to disabled youth through the AYSO VIP (Very Important Players) Program and enjoyed coaching a girl’s fifth and sixth grade basketball team with her two other friends.
At school, Christine volunteers with ‘Operation G.R.A.C.E,’ and the Big Buddy Program.
Joshin George lives in Thornwood and attends Westlake High School.
Joshin volunteers at the National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury where he assists in the Rewalk Project by processing and sorting data and updating training logs. Each Friday, Joshin has volunteered at the Gurukulam School of Indian Arts and Culture in White Plains, as a teacher’s assistant.
At school Joshin takes part in the Principal’s Advisory Board, a group of students who come together to discuss issues with and present policies for the school and Mount Pleasant Central School District. He is also a member of the Peer Advice and Leadership Service (PALS), and also provides tutoring to his peers in mathematics and chemistry and participates in both the Academic and Science Olympiad Teams.
Elijah Coleman Jackson lives in Mount Vernon and attends the Master School in Dobbs Ferry.
Elijah, a New Orleans native, helped raise almost $1,000 for Katrina Victims, by requesting donations instead of gifts for his ninth birthday. He volunteered as an after school tutor with Family Ties of Westchester in the eighth grade and volunteers after school at Cabrini Immigrant services as well as at Children’s Village. Elijah has traveled to New York City to hand out food and clothing to homeless men and women, attended the Twenty Fifth Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in Houston, Texas and along with several other Masters students and teachers, helped fix homes in Jonestown, Mississippi.
At school Elijah was elected as a Co-Chair of MISH (Masters Interested in Sharing & Helping) and is an active member in several other clubs.
Nina Joung lives in Ardsley and attends Ardsley High School.
Nina is a member of the Westchester County Senior Youth Council of Family Services of Westchester, where in 2012, she led an original workshop on the topic of “Media and Body Image” which she presented at the Westchester Youth Council’s 2012 Youth Action Convention. In 2013, she organized and led the Youth Action Training which was expanded from one to two days of leadership programming for Westchester teens where she led a workshop on media literacy for young leaders that encouraged the development of self esteem and critical thinking.
Nina was also the Westchester County Youth Council Project Leader for two Youth Council initiatives: Denim Day and Girltopia. Girltopia is an event organized by the Sharing Shelf, (another Family Services of Westchester program) where spring clothing for teen girls is collected, organized and distributed to girls in need. On Denim Day (a day recognizing systemic injustice experienced by sexual violence survivors and the need for increased awareness and prevention) Nina organized, communicated with peers, created a poster and led a discussion on the topic. Nina has recently formed Westchester Children’s Association Youth Reporters which combines advocacy and journalism.
Courtney Naomi Mills lives in New Rochelle and attends New Rochelle High School.
Courtney began assisting her grandmother in preparing sandwiches for the Brown Bag lunch program at Trinity St. Paul’s Church at the age of six. She has since created a clothing drive for Trinity’s lunch guests and has ironed, folded, and labeled gently used clothing for each recipient. Courtney works as an Assistant Teacher with Higher Horizons Day Care Center, has volunteered as a camp counselor for the New Rochelle Zonta Girls Scout Science Camp, and as an Assistant Librarian at the New Rochelle Public Library during the summer of 2010. She volunteered for the Intergenerational Olympics at the United Hebrew Nursing Home and has also been a member of St. Simon’s the Cyrenian Episcopal Church from birth and serves on the altar as an acolyte.
At school Courtney participates in the Mentoring Program, represented her school at a Lego League Competition, the Iona College Science Entry Program (Step), created birthing kits for women of West Africa through the Zonta Club and has been a member of the Performing and Visual Arts Education (PAVE) program at her school which toured England last year and sang at the Olympics.
Connor Pascale lives in Scarsdale and attends Scarsdale High School.
Connor is a member of Harrison EMS Explorer Post 2070, which is chartered by the Boy Scouts. Connor volunteers as a Jr. Captain at the Scarsdale Fire Explorers and recently began service with Larchmont Fire Explorers. He provides youth fire safety education and when necessary clears fire hydrants of snow. Between Harrison EMS and the Fire Explorer programs, Connor currently volunteers an average of 10-12 hours per week.
In 2012 Connor achieved the level of Eagle Scout. His Eagle project was to build an outdoor science trail and classrooms for the Science Department at Scarsdale High School. The trail was completed in 2012 and involved approximately 60 hours of his personal time in the project planning, approval and execution. Connor recruited approximately 48 fellow Scouts and family members, fellow students and friends. He secured the donated help of two commercial companies and the Scarsdale Highway Department to help with the project. Together, this group devoted a total of 358 hours to the project. Today, the science trail is used for outdoor classroom instruction and experiments and also as a walking trail by members of the community.
Laura Tucciarone lives in Mamaroneck and attends Mamaroneck High School.
In the summer of 2013 Laura attended Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development’s Civic Leadership Institute in Chicago where she spent over 25 service hours working in homeless shelters and in urban gardens. She has participated in a program called Saturday Live at the Fashion Institute of Technology for the past three years studying fashion design.
At school Laura is a board member of Students for Senegal in 2013. Once Laura discovered the residents of Lambaye did not have access to simple oral health care products like toothbrushes and toothpaste she founded a sub group called “Smiles for Senegal.” Through this sub group she collected several thousand toothbrushes and toothpastes for distribution in Lambaye. In February 2013 Laura traveled to Lambaye Senegal to distribute the dental supplies. In her sophomore year, she co-founded the club ‘Charity: Water’ which raises money through various activities to provide those in developing countries with clean drinking water. Laura’s other activities include being a member of the Varsity Fencing Team and participating in Mamaroneck High School’s Original Science Research Program where she is exploring the effect social media has on teenage body image.
Michaela Turturro lives in Croton-on-Hudson and attends Croton-Harmon High School.
Michaela has also been a part of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson since she was in kindergarten, where she helps sell cookies and sends them to troops overseas, and additionally organizes local food pantries. She is also active within her church serving as an as an Altar Server and Catechist, and training others for these duties. Michaela has also taught religious education since sophomore year.
At school Michaela has been a part of the Teen Leadership Council since the eighth grade. This is a group of students, community members, professional adults, and students who work to make fellow students aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol and to encourage responsible decisions. Michaela is the co-President of this group and gives reports at monthly meetings to key leaders in the community. She attended a national four day youth leadership conference last summer with twelve peers from Croton, and plans to attend again to work as a teen staff member to help run groups and activities. Michaela has been chosen by her local Police Youth Officer to be a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) role model which is a mentoring program for eighth graders with question and answer sessions about life in high school. She is also a leader for the Big Buddy Program which pairs a senior with a freshman. She has played in the pit band for the school musical ‘She Loves Me’ in freshman year, and served as stage manager for the school’s spring musical production. Michaela has written a program for the Drama Club, plays in and helps lead the high school pep band, and is an instructor at volleyball camp.