By Maryam Shah
NEW CASTLE, DE (STL.News) Governor John Carney will present the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards to 13 young people, four emerging leaders and two groups during a May 17 ceremony to recognize their service to Delaware.
“I am honored to celebrate the young people across our state who continue to serve our communities and neighbors in need,” Governor Carney said. “The need for volunteers has never been greater, and I’m grateful to see the willingness of our young volunteers to make a difference in the lives of others.”
The Governor will be joined by at least 175 people at the Del-One Conference Center at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover to honor the young volunteers. The ceremony begins with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the official ceremony at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and are available for purchase at: eventbrite.com https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-governors-youth-volunteer-service-awards-tickets-322584879057
“I am inspired by the energy of Delaware’s young volunteers,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik. “Their dedication to volunteering and helping others in need, especially as we navigate the new and ever-changing challenges that surround us, is impressive.”
The 2022 award recipients participated in activities such as raising funds for local nonprofits, helping fellow classmates prepare for college, donating PPE during the pandemic, sending cards of inspiration to seniors and first responders, caring for animals, cleaning up the environment and advocating for vulnerable populations including people who are experiencing homelessness, veterans and children.
The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honor the contributions of individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering. The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, State Office of Volunteerism, and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.
For more information about the awards or volunteer opportunities, go to volunteer.delaware.gov, or contact Tina Gary, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at 302-857-5014 or via email [email protected]
Logan ScottSussex CountyLogan Attends Delmar High School and volunteers at the Shepherd’s Office serving those experiencing homelessness, hunger, or loneliness in Georgetown DE. She volunteers by serving meals, serving thanksgiving dinner and passing out gifts during the holiday season. Logan has served approximately 3,000 meals in 2021. Logan has a caring card ministry where she makes homemade cards for the residents at Delmar Nursing home. Last year, during the Pandemic, she distributed cards to remind the residents that they have not been forgotten. Although she could not visit the people receiving her cards, she received word from Delmar Nursing Home that the residents were excited to receive cards. Logan inspires other youth in her community to engage in volunteerism.
Abhinav ParmarNew Castle CountyAbhinav attends Charter School of Wilmington and is a vital part of Charity Crossing. Abhinav volunteers on the Charity Crossing digital communications and Newsletter Team. He has participated in the No One Hungry Drive – Socks Drive where socks and winter clothing are donated to members of our community who are in need. He is the lead on Charity Crossing Care Package Team, the lead on School Supplies Drive, Co-Lead on the Charity Crossing Awards Project which is a huge event hosted to recognize every Charity Crossing Volunteer Service, and assists Claymont Community Center and Carousel Park in Wilmington. Abhinav is a member of the South Asian Student Union that allows him to connect and bond with fellow peers.
Sahil LangoteNew Castle CountySahil is a proud volunteer of Charity Crossing. His primary volunteer service is in Rose Hill Community Center and has been an integral part of Charity Crossings efforts since the beginning of the pandemic. He organized the distribution and acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment to community members who otherwise would not have had the essential supplies. One thousand of the masks that were distributed, Sahil stitched himself. He participated in vaccine clinics organized by Rite Aid and Care Force MD, co-led socks drive in New Castle County libraries, and volunteered at a dental clinic assisting with setups and clerical work. He attends Charter School of Wilmington and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. He volunteers in the Hispanic communities and at the Hispanic festival. Sahil is a positive role model for those in his peer group.
McKenna SmarteSussex CountyMcKenna is homeschooled and volunteers at Little Bit Acres and Courageous Hearts. McKenna provides full care for 9 horses who are incorporated into Equine Assisted Psychotherapy which is a grounded activity that incorporates horses into mental health treatment. Care includes feeding, watering, exercising, bathing the horses as well as cleaning all stalls, sweeping, cleaning barns and common areas. McKenna has been an integral part of the team and provides horse and barn care 2-3 evenings per week and as needed. Some herds have had previous traumatic experiences and she works with them by brushing and providing unique opportunities that help the horses feel comfortable in human situations. Angel, one of the horses was in extreme pain and did not want to be touched. Mckenna took the time to create fun interactive activities such as teaching her to come to a whistle, walk over poles, walk around the property, brushing and bathing her which assisted the horse in returning to interacting with humans. She is extremely helpful, hardworking, and has a thirst for knowledge, especially about horses.
Parker CuffNew Castle CountyParker attends Odyssey Charter School and is a top fundraiser for the American Heart Association (AHA) Jump Rope Heart Campaign, also known as Kids with Heart Challenge. She works directly with American Heart Association outside of school creating video advertisements for Kids Heart Challenge. She is a member of the Leos Club, where she has cooked for the homeless and participated in clothing, shoe, book, and food drives. Parker also spent time performing community service as a member of the Girls with Pearls organization. There she participated in a book drive, cancer walk, and helped to feed families during Thanksgiving. As a member of the Planet Youth Coalition, Parker has created public service advertisements to help make youth aware of the dangers of doing drugs and to destigmatize those who suffer with the disease of addiction.
Kirti DagaNew Castle CountyKirti is an outstanding example for her peers contributing to a long and dynamic list of initiatives, in addition, to keeping high academic grades and hobbies. Kirti volunteers at Charity Crossing donating foods for needy families in addition to part-time tutor for children grades K-12 in math and reading at Kumon Incorporated. Her list of initiatives includes a Member of “Multiplying Good Council” a service-based organization helping fundraise over $1,500.00 individually for the “BE Positive” (B+) organization that annually contributes nearly six figures dedicated to research in childhood cancer, Secretary for “Apply Day Delaware”, a global youth-run initiative that fights to increase global health literacy, National Honor Society Member at Charter School of Wilmington, Vice President of UNICEF at Charter School of Wilmington, and President of Student Leadership Initiative Program.
Madison GregoryKent CountyMadison attends Polytech High School where she is active in the Polytech Pride Community All-stars community service group. During the Pandemic Madison felt a need to inform our First Responders and Nursing Home residents that they were not forgotten and appreciated. Hundreds of cards were distributed to local healthcare facilities, senior living centers, and first responders. Writing these messages helped Madison feel happy and connected during difficult times. Recipients were excited to receive these messages. Madison participates in the Sleeping Mat Project where plastic bags are put to good use and help those in the community experiencing homelessness. “Plarn” is the “yarn’, also called plastic yarn used to knit or crochet plastic sleeping mats. Plarn is constructed from the plastic bags and used as yarn in knitting or crocheting. Madison has cut over 2,000 bags that were made into Plarn and donated to the Sleeping Mat project. Her contributions have allowed those experiencing homelessness to receive a mat to sleep on.
Bryana Melody HarrisSussex CountyBryana is a 6-year-old volunteer who is making an impact in the town of Bridgeville. Last year she turned her giving heart into a movement and created Bryana’s Donation House. Bryana’s Donation House collects donations from individuals and organizations, the donations are given to those experiencing homelessness and underserved population in Bridgeville. This fall Bryana noticed the uptick in COVID19 cases and sprang into action and purchased PPE items to donate to a local senior citizen complex. Bryana modeled her volunteerism after her parents and constantly assists her mother helping with the nonprofit, Cornerstone Community Center. She assists with giving out bookbags filled with school supplies for underprivileged students. In December 2020 Bryana was inducted as a Pearlette, a youth club of Zeta Beta Sorority Inc.
Samreen AhmedNew Castle CountySince elementary school and now attending Odyssey Charter School, Samreen has been involved with Zakat Foundation of America genuinely putting her heart and soul in service projects. One of the projects that stands out is the Cupcake Wars organized for the past 2 years. She engaged thirteen teams to compete in 3 rounds of baking and decorating cupcakes and sold the products that raised money to purchase sporting equipment for kids in underserved communities. Samreen spends her free time when out of school, and the summer helping teachers at Islamic Academy of Delaware. She helps students needing extra help with academic work. She also participates in various projects including Cards for Compassion project to make thousands of cards for the elderly during the pandemic, the Hygiene Kit Drive for the homeless, and collecting coloring books and card games for 100 kids at the Nemours Children’s Hospital.
Aratrika GhoshNew Castle CountyAratrika attends Appoquinimink High School. She is a natural leader who volunteers with Charity Crossing giving back to the community and building relationships. Aratrika finds the experience and the intrinsic value exciting and cannot find this anywhere else. She feels every time she creates flyers, package items or leads the experience is what makes volunteering worth it. She always feels as though every time she creates, organizes, or leads we inspire others to do the same. Aratrika made multi-faced contributions including collecting 2,128 winter donations for the less fortunate people in Delaware, Youth Leader for Delmarva Blood Donation Drive (social media campaign), sorted for the Amphan Relief Drive, Recipient of the “Hero Help” Award from New Castle County Police which executed activities that impacted over 100 people, Digital Design Team Member, Newsletter Designer, and led sanitizer drives impacting our communities.
Alexis HagamanSussex CountyAlexis attends Delmar Middle & Senior High School. She is involved in many community service opportunities which include Member of Project Sparkle On, Inc, numerous fundraising bake sales, working with activities in rock painting, Dear Solider card writing, stuffing over 500 Christmas stockings for seniors in care, shopping for seniors’ gifts from Good Ole Boys Foundation, and delivered cards to several nursing homes on Valentine’s Day. She strives to make a difference and makes a goal to complete more than accomplished. Alexis also volunteers with Reading Angles, Cross Christian Academy in Seaford, and participates in numerous Delmar events including league cleanup day, and the 100th Anniversary of the Fire Department parade. She was also crowned Delmarva’s Junior Teen Miss Delmar in September 2021.
Nithila ChrisostamNew Castle CountyNithila attends Appoquinimink High School. Nithila is primary responsible for facilitating projects related to Charity Crossing’s digital communications including flyers, social media management, monthly newsletters, logo/sticker designs, and creative processes that need to be made for the organization’s brands and initiatives. She started a digital communications team at Charity Crossing in May 2021 that was composed of various high school students that facilitated projects including video creation and flier designs. Through this initiative, she can provide many new and creative opportunities for students to problem solve, collaborate, and develop meaningful work and leadership skills. Nithila is on the National Honor Society for 2 years, elected historian for digital media creation, and National Art Honor Society for 3 years while tutoring children.
Sydney RuarkSussex CountySydney volunteers at the Cross Christian Academy, to tutor younger children in the summer program. Sydney’s service provided children with a better understanding of their schoolwork. Sydney helps her teachers every day during the school year with grading papers, running errands, and cleaning the school. She also volunteers with Project Sparkle On and her organization K.I.T.T.Y. She has created Valentine’s Day cards for nursing home residents, Christmas cards for Soldiers, donated boxes of food to local pantries, and donated books to local libraries and the organization H.E.Y.S.I.S. Lastly, Sydney volunteered with Promise Builders to work the meal prep line to feed those experiencing homelessness on Thanksgiving Day. She also does random acts of kindness such placing books in baggies along with a positive note and placing them around parks for children to take home.
Project Sparkle On, Inc.Statewide (Kent, New Castle, Sussex)The youth volunteers of Project Sparkle On, Inc serve throughout the State of Delaware. The volunteers adopted 8 nursing homes during Valentine’s Day to provide seniors in care with handmade cards and plushies; they held a Christmas Drive, “Sparkle of Hope,” which adopted 500 more seniors in care and provided them with a Christmas stocking stuffed with goodies. Moreover, the kids held their third annual “Dear Soldier Crusade” where they collected or made 1,500 Christmas cards, letters, drawings, and coloring pages for Soldiers fighting overseas during the holidays. Lastly, this group held two free community events, one in collaboration with the Laurel Public Library, and their second annual “Giving Back Rocks event.” The “Giving Back Rocks” Event was held on the 9/11 National Day of Service and encouraged/inspired 100+ community members to come out and participate in painting kindness rocks and writing “Dear Soldier cards.”
The Leo’s ClubNew Castle CountyThe Leo’s Club is comprised of volunteers ages 12 to 17 who participate in various projects. This group assembled care bags for ill children including pediatric cancer patients being treated at Dupont Children’s Hospital. The bags included activity books filled with art, riddles, jokes, and stories created by the Leos. The club cooked meals for homeless men and women at Sojourner’s place; assisted the Bellevue Farms with moving soil, removing debris, planting and other Farm maintenance; sponsored a toy drive and handed out the toys directly to community members on Pine Street and Vandever Avenue. The Leo’s also collected, packaged, and distributed care packages of food and cleaning supplies for the Hurricane Ida victims. Moreover, the group sponsored a “Bundle Up Project” that consisted of them collecting and delivering over 200 pieces of warm clothing for the less fortunate. Lastly, they created a Public Service Announcement on goodwill, kindness, and drug prevention.
Quadir PhillipState Wide (Kent, New Castle, Sussex)Quadir has volunteered to create an inclusive district-wide environment for Delaware schools. Quadir has been involved in a multitude of volunteer service projects including providing food and letters of appreciation to hospital staff during the Covid19 Pandemic, participating in the Black Student Union to amplify the voice of minority students state-wide, and he also served on the equity committee to promote equality and diversity amongst the students and staff at Caesar Rodney High School. Moreover, Quadir organized several events to benefit the local homeless community and students throughout the district, as well as supply drives for Code Purple and the school nurse’s office to help provide basic necessities for students who cannot afford them.
Puiyee KongKent & New Castle CountyPuiyee volunteers teaching her own self-developed coding curriculum to elementary and middle-school students in a self-created program called CodeClub. She reached out to the Dover Public Library to inquire about teaching her own coding classes and has since taught two different 17-week sessions over the course of 2020-2022. Her initial CodeClub session was so successful that the library invited her back to teach a second, more advanced session. Her volunteer service included research on websites, developing teaching materials and resources, planning interactive activities for the students and creating engaging presentations whilst teaching the class herself. Puiyee recognized a need in her community and spearheaded her own program to meet that need.
Anaum AllimullaNew Castle CountyAnaum is involved with various community service projects with the Zakat Foundation of America as well as Newark Charter School. Anaum demonstrates leadership by organizing many ice skating and sports fundraisers for different causes. She led a campaign with another student to raise $6,000 for cancer research that could impact the wellbeing and health of the community at large. Anaum led the Zakat Foundation Food Distribution Project every month for the entire year where one hundred homeless individuals in Wilmington benefitted each time. She also established Future Law Professionals club for aspiring attorneys at her school where she organized and coordinated various activities. Additionally, she found another club called Speech and Debate team where she mentored and guided the students through their debate competitions with one-on-one feedback lessons for different techniques and strategies.
Bryanna BakerNew Castle CountyBryana assisted in carrying out several service projects for Prayer & Praise Power Ministries. She has taken the initiative to coordinate services with several organizations such as the Food Bank of Delaware, The Delaware Dream Center, and Operation Warm. Due to Bryanna’s efforts, the food pantry at Prayer & Praise Power Ministries has drastically increased, from serving 50 families to over 100 families on a distribution day. In addition, Bryanna supports the Girls on the Run after-school program where she helps inspire young girls to recognize and embrace their inner strength. More recently, Bryanna began volunteering at the organization’s Daily Bread Dining Room, where she helps to prepare and serve meals to her local community.
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In 2021, 94¢ from each dollar donated went directly toward programs serving those in need. 3¢ went to administrative costs & 3¢ went to fundraising costs.