Clearview High School
From the time she was a child, Maggie Sullivan has realized the need to give back to those who have helped her. As student supervisor of the school’s Hoagies for Hope event, she was in charge of fund raising, recruiting students to participate and handling public relations. As a result of her efforts, the group raised close to $25,000, which was donated to the families of two children stricken with devastating illnesses. Maggie has made a lifetime commitment to serving others and seeking ways to help those in need.
Damien considers it an honor to give back to his community. As a member of the school’s Key Club and student council, he has participated in food and clothing drives, making cards and care packages for veterans and raising funds for children with illnesses. Outside of school, Damien volunteers at the Mantua Little League as an assistant coach and runs the snack stand at almost every game during the spring and summer seasons. He is driven by a desire and passion to make a positive impact upon his community and finds a rewarding experience in every service opportunity.
Delsea High School
Chris finds that doing something meaningful for others reaps rewards that are difficult to put into words. Throughout his years at Delsea, he has participated in a number of volunteer projects, including assisting in the design of and laying the foundation for the community’s baseball dugout. He describes one of his most gratifying volunteer experiences as being part of the Thanksgiving dinner run by the school’s Interact Club. The students transformed the school cafeteria into a beautiful restaurant. Chris was in charge of designing a floor plan, setting up the tables and assisting on the bus which transported the guests to the event, where they were welcomed, seated and served by the club members. After dinner, the guests were given gift bags full of toiletries and snacks. Chris intends to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and plans to continue making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Hannah is a strong believer in making a difference in the world by investing her time in serving others. For the past six years, she has co-chaired a Christmas event sponsored by the Victory Assembly of God Church and the Division of Children Protection and Permanency of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties. As part of the program, gifts and encouragement are given to 150 children who are separated from their families. As a volunteer in her church, Hannah leads in fund raising for children in Third World countries, teaches in vacation bible school, is a youth group leader, and a Sunday school teacher. At Delsea, she is a member of numerous clubs and participates in a variety of service projects, including working at Franklinville Day, making cards for guest at the school’s Thanksgiving Dinner, and teaching lessons for Interact at Delsea High and Middle Schools. Hannah is a cancer survivor and is doing her role in the search for a cure. She is part of a study team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and participates in its fundraising events. Hannah enjoys volunteering and seeking ways to strengthen her community and to inspire others.
Deptford High School
Shoa’s passion to serve others was ignited by her parents and grandparents. Through her involvement with the Veterans’ Association, she learned to listen to the needs of her community and collaborate with a team to open its first healthcare clinic. Inspired by this achievement, she helped the Red Cross to organize and chaired her community blood drive and led the effort to collect toiletries to donate to local women’s shelters, which raised $500 and collected nearly 900 items. Her compassion for humanity has inspired her to make blankets for sick children for Project Linus and to cook for the Hunger Meal Program. Service projects have given Shoa an appreciation for generosity and selflessness and its power to change the world.
Christopher was introduced to community service at an early age through his family and church youth group. As a young boy, he spent his allowance on peanut butter and jelly to make sandwiches for donation to a Camden food kitchen. Christopher never missed an opportunity to volunteer and participated in food and coat drives, built supply shoeboxes for the homeless and collected donations for a women’s shelter. As he grew older, he realized that more was expected of him, and he began serving at the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. Through school, he led and took part in a number of club-hosted fundraisers, which included gathering supplies for nursing home residents and for young children in need of sports gear. Christopher strongly believes in the importance of volunteering and the positive change it can make for others.
Gateway High School
At the age of 13, Alyssa began volunteering as a coach for a group of toddler cheerleaders. She found it rewarding to watch these young girls progress and still treasures the bonds she has formed with them. During her junior year at Gateway, she was elected vice president of Rachel’s Challenge, a club whose goal is to spread positivity in small acts of kindness. At least twice a year, the group volunteers at the Pitman food pantry. Alyssa never misses an opportunity to volunteer at school events from working at middle school dances, selling tickets to the school’s annual plays and running the Gator Day event. In her spare time, she mentors a middle school student as he transitions to high school.
From the time he could walk, Robert’s mother taught him the importance of volunteering by bringing him and his siblings to park cleanups. He recalls walking around Woodbury Heights’ soccer fields looking for litter until his hands were cold and his nose red. His childhood volunteering experience has driven Robert’s lifestyle for the past few years. He has volunteered at the Haluwasa summer camp where he devoted his time there to every chore, ranging from washing dishes, raking leaves and life guarding. In school, he has taken an active role in the Ambassador Club and the mentoring program. He plans to continue his volunteering activities throughout his life and hopes to one day tug his own children along to park cleanups.
Glassboro High School
When she relocated to the United States from India in 2008, Pariti found it difficult to fit into a culture that she did not understand. However, within three months, she had learned English and went on to excel in school. She became very active in many of her high school’s activities, both academic and athletic. Her grades earned her the Principal’s list every year since 2015. She has received the President’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and the Glassboro High School Sportsmanship award in tennis. Besides concentrating on her education, Pariti has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours, donating time to the Girl Schools, Ronald McDonald House, the Glassboro Extended Summer School Year program, along with many other volunteer activities. She hopes to continue her success in the years ahead.
Joshuah’s father, a police sergeant and a pastor, who passed away in 2015, inspired him to devote his time to volunteering in his church, school and community. Joshuah participated in Glassboro Public School’s reading initiative as a reader to 5th grade students and served as a Jersey Boy State Delegate in June 2018. He was elected mayor and then senator of the group and was among a team of 25 students from the state who introduced bills to the legislature in Trenton. In addition, Joshuah has served on the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention, Word of Life CWC Community Day and the Vineland Police Department’s National Night Out. He plans to keep his father’s legacy alive by continuing his volunteer activities in the coming years.
Growing up, Sanya made numerous trips to India to visit her family. While there, she witnessed the poor treatment of women, leading her to realize that as an American girl she had the knowledge and facilities to make a difference to these women. She has visited India’s slums, villages and schools to educate girls on the importance of good hygiene and the need to seek medical care. Sanya has founded an organization to provide personal care products to young women in India. She finds the new-found confidence in their eyes to be deeply rewarding and plans to spend every summer in India continuing her volunteer work in its poor communities.
Kiyoshi Connor Woods
Kiyoshi is committed to doing the most for others. As a middle school student, he volunteered at his local library, which spurred his search for knowledge and passion to serve. During his sophomore and junior years at GCIT, he began volunteering at Skills USA, Love Our Vets and the Out of Darkness walk. During the summer of his sophomore year, Kiyoshi worked toward achieving the Skills USA award by doing volunteer work on the USS Missouri, where he performed such tasks as ripping up teak decking, disassembling air conditioners and assisting tourists on the ship. In his junior year, Kiyoshi was awarded the Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award. Throughout the school year, he continued to volunteer at various activities, including the Freshmen Meet and Greet and serving at the Cathedral kitchen in Camden. Kiyoshi is grateful for the ability to participate in volunteer activities and the rewarding experiences they provide to him.
Kingsway Regional High School
Lauren has the privilege of volunteering for TOPSports, an organization to assist children with special needs to develop motor and social skills through sports and fun. In her role as a buddy, she is paired one on one with a child. During a recent season, she was matched with a young girl with Down’s syndrome. During their time together, Lauren developed a powerful bond with the child. Beyond improving the baseball skills of the organization’s participants, she finds most rewarding the experience of serving as a friend. Through her volunteering, Lauren has learned the need for patience, empathy and commitment.
Ryan Timothy Hughes
Ryan’s high school years have offered him exceptional service experiences. One in particular stands out to him. As the Key Club’s liaison for the Foster Karing Kits project, Ryan took the lead and gathered donations from families, students and local businesses. The group donated 30 care packages to teenagers living in foster homes. Ryan serves as a mentor for younger students in the school’s marching band and baseball teams and led them in clean community projects. As president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, he has made it a priority to involve the group in community-oriented projects, such as caroling at nursing homes. Volunteering has taught Ryan the importance of team work, thinking outside of the box and considering the perspectives of others, traits which he plans to use in his future career as an attorney.
Our Lady Of Mercy Academy
The law firm of Hoffman DiMuzio has allocated close to half a million dollars to its Gift of the Heart Community Scholarship Foundation. Each of the 21 high schools in Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem County has selected two students to receive a $1,000 scholarship for embodying the service ideals of the program. The scholarship recipient from Our Lady of Mercy Academy is Samantha McBurrows.
A call from a fellow student to volunteer in a week-long service project gave Samantha one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. Serving food at a soup kitchen taught her the value of volunteering, and building a home for a family as part of the project taught her the rewards of hard work and selflessness. The living conditions she experienced during the week-long service project brought her face-to-face with the reality of the life homeless people experience every day. Samantha describes service as a way to connect with her community and to recognize her ability to help others. When in the past she volunteered only as a way to fulfill her service hours, Samantha now volunteers because of a desire to do so.
Paulsboro High School
Amaya volunteers for the sheer love of helping others. As the first and only junior member of the Paulsboro Recreation Committee, she participates in various community activities, including the annual Christmas with Santa event, Easter Egg Hunt, Black History Month program and movie night. As a high school student, she is a member of numerous clubs that all require volunteer time and dedication. During football season, she volunteers to run the popcorn machine, and during the summer she is a volunteer at the school’s field hockey clinic. As the student representative to the borough’s Board of Education, she voices the opinions of the student body and strives to make a difference. Amaya and her grandfather, a Navy veteran, volunteer at the Vineland Veterans Hospital. Volunteering has given Amaya the opportunity to strengthen her character and find her purpose in life.
Community service is a large part of Anthony’s life. Throughout high school he has found opportunities to serve the community by taking part in such events as the Senior Citizen’s Christmas Bingo, Santa’s Helper church program, the Wrestling pancake breakfast, and the wrestling team’s envelope drive. He credits his volunteer activities for helping to mold his character in a positive way and feels himself fortunate to have the opportunity to serve others.
Pitman High School
Rachel has always felt the need to serve others. As a pre-teen, she traveled to Jamaica on a mission trip where she taught Bible school and performed many physical labor projects, She has been a member of the school’s Key Club for four years, and in her senior year was elected its president. The club has given Rachel many opportunities to serve others through bake sales, faculty dinners, blood donations and concession stand sales. As a volunteer at the Pitman Potter Festival, she spent time singing and assisted in running the “sorting ceremony” She has served as a chaperone for elementary and middle school trips and volunteers as a counselor at off-season retreats at Camp Haluwasa. Because of her volunteering activities, Rachel plans a career in helping young children as a pediatric physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist.
Anthony Joseph Razze
Anthony credits his parents for instilling in him the importance of giving rather than receiving. As a seven-year-old, he and his twin brother decided that instead of receiving birthday gifts from family and friends, charitable donations be made. This tradition has continued and has raised more than $8,000 in donations. When he lost his childhood friend to a rare genetic disease, Anthony raised over $1100.00 in honor of his friend and donated the funds for research into the disease. As a second-grader he donated $1100.00 to the Gloucester County Autism Walk in honor of a classmate. When he reached the third grade, Anthony wanted to help the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by assembling personal care and snack packages. To raise the funds to do this, he sold lemonade in front of his house and used birthday donations. As a fourth-grader he raised $1350.00 to create a mural at his elementary school library in memory of a librarian who passed from cancer. At the age of 10, Anthony raised $1500.00, which he donated for the purchase of a new scoreboard at his town’s athletic field and also found someone who was willing to donate his time and services to have it installed. When he entered middle school, Anthony chose to donate his birthday money to the Special Olympics of NJ, and the funds were used to purchase new uniforms for the girls’ team. In honor of a friend’s father who passed away from liver failure, Anthony donated $265.00 to Our Lady of Lourdes Transplant Foundation. In their final year of middle school, Anthony and his twin brother founded a scholarship in memory of his childhood friend, and each year a scholarship of $1300.00 is awarded to two seniors at graduation. Anthony feels blessed for the call to serve and finds reward in helping those in need. He is committed to continue his life of service in college and beyond.
Washington Township High School
A desperate need for peanut butter by the non-profit organization, Philabundance, sparked Mia’s desire to make a difference in the world. To answer the call, she decided to help and devised a plan for her small family business to conduct continuous food drives. The experience lit a flame in her heart to be a part of something with a purpose. In her sophomore year, Mia joined the student council and other service-oriented clubs at school. Through these groups she participated in the Buddy Walk benefiting children affected by Down’s syndrome, the Festival of Friends to help adults facing mental illnesses and the Monzo Madness dance-a-thon to raise money for ALS. She finds personal fulfillment in these events and has learned that kindness and love go a long way in life. As President of the Student Council, she has continued community service traditions, including the Senior Citizens Prom, Senior Service Day and Sleep Away in Quay to raise awareness and donations for homeless youth. Mia’s mission is to make her high school a more inclusive and accepting place and to inspire others along her journey.
Throughout his school years, Nick has made every effort to exemplify service and make an impact on everyone he meets. Two volunteer initiatives are very close to Nick’s heart. Since the time he was a freshman, he has been a leader of the Helping Hands Hoagie Sale. The funds raised from this event are donated to local families to assist them in overcoming financial hardships. Nick also led the township toy drive, which culminated in the “24 at the Core” event during which he and his fellow students stayed in the school lobby for more than 24 hours to collect toys and raise money for less fortunate children. Even though this is a fun event for him, Nick feels its real payoff is in seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they walk through the door and see all of the toys waiting for them. Nick plans to continue giving all he has to his community and reaping the fruits of his efforts in the positive feelings he has when helping people.
West Deptford High School
Community service is something close to Jamie’s heart. For the past six years, she has volunteered in the township’s safety program, which is offered to kindergarten students. The participants teach the children school bus and street crossing safety, playground and bicycle use and other safety topics. Presently, Jamie is the teen leader for the organization and has the responsibility of directing the student helpers and supervising the children involved in the program. As a member of the school’s Key Club, she volunteers at the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden and visits nursing home residents on Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Through her participation in Operation Blessing, Jamie helps to bring Christmas cheer to township residents who are in need. She plans to continue helping others in any way she can.
The impact of a town community struck Vincent when he entered West Deptford High School as a transfer student. Because of the outpouring of support by his fellow classmates, he was prompted to become involved in the school’s activities. Vincent is a member of the Key Club, and volunteers at Camden’s Cathedral Kitchen and Christmas caroling at the Comcast Center. He takes part in the Friends of Rachel Club’s annual week of respect, volunteers at the elementary school Visit with Santa Day, and runs events at the end- of- the school year field days. He also serves as a new student tour guide. Vincent participates in Operation Blessing each year to collect toys, food and clothing for underprivileged members of his community, and the annual Saint Baldrick’s hair donation event for the benefit of childhood cancer patients. Experiencing the town spirit has instilled in Vincent the importance of giving back to his community and helping children and families in need.
Williamstown High School
In August 2017, Femi launched her own non-profit organization, the Right Pack, whose aim is to provide underprivileged children with school supplies. She independently collected supplies and donations during her summer vacation and was able to fill seven backpacks with school supplies. This service inspired Femi to organize a group to collect supplies in good condition from students who were cleaning out their lockers. Rather than ending up in the trash, these supplies were redistributed to students in need. Femi’s non-profit organization has helped her to grow as a student and a leader. She plans to continue providing supplies to students in her local school and in the college she will attend in the fall.
Christopher Michael Palazzo
From the time he was a child, Christopher has wanted to give back to the community around him. The influence of the Boy Scouts, his parents and others has given him the desire to become greatly involved in community service. He joined the Boy Scouts at the age of 11 and as a member has performed well over 250 hours of community service, including road cleanups, Eagle Scout projects, nursing home volunteering and working with children at summer camp.
For his Eagle Scout project, Christopher planned and led the building of a flag retirement fire pit at his local POW/MIA memorial park. As a result of this project, there is a central place to respectfully retire American flags. Christopher also volunteers as a student tutor and peer mentor and student representative to his town’s school board. Community service and involvement are Christopher’s ways of making his community a great place to live.
Woodbury Junior-Senior High School
Nichole R. Castelli
Nichole has been a Girl Scout from the time she was in third grade. In addition to community service connected with the scouts, she serves as a volunteer for the West End Elementary School talent show and the Act One Dance Studio, where she assists younger students and donates her time to the studio’s annual open house. Nichole was given her first camera in middle school and since then has used it to benefit her school and community. Her first music video was presented to the school board, and she continues to volunteer her time as the school’s photographer. Throughout the year, she is called upon by both coaches and students to photograph various athletic events. Her love of photography has led her to volunteer to photograph various community and school events and has inspired her to seek other volunteer assignments.
As part of his NJROTC requirement, Tymothy began his volunteer work doing road clean-up, tutoring and helping the elderly. When he moved from Arizona to our state, he discovered that his local fire department was seeking volunteers. As a junior firefighter, he carries out vital tasks both at and away from a fire scene. Besides being responsible for knowledge of the equipment, he runs the accountability board, which requires him to keep track of the firefighters as they enter and exit a burning building. Tymothy is so dedicated to being a volunteer emergency responder that he even carries basic first aid and CPR tools with him in his book bag. His future plans include becoming an emergency communications officer at his local 9-1-1- answer point while continuing his college studies.