2016 Middle School Nominees

Arielle

Arielle

Arielle Bauer – Berkshire Middle School
Nominated by Jason Clinkscale, Principal

Arielle assists special needs children in the Friendship Circle program by helping at different social events.  She also visited a special needs student at his home to help him improve his social skills.  In addition to her work with the Friendship Circle, Arielle has volunteered at a food bank.

Arielle was initially inspired by helping her two autistic cousins.  It made her feel good, and prompted her to help others with similar issues.  She says, “All of my work at the Friendship Circle hopefully makes the special needs kids feel like they have friends and feel more confident.”

Victoria Beckeman—Derby Middle School
Nominated by Lynn Kmiec, Teacher

Victoria

Victoria

Victoria has led many community service activities in her role as president of the Derby National Junior Honor Society.  She instituted a communication process, Remind 101, through which she keeps the club members informed on volunteer opportunities.  She led a program, “Change for Change,” in which students collected $580 worth of change for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.  To achieve this, she organized volunteers to staple information sheets to baggies that were distributed throughout the school, and then to walk around the school with buckets collecting change.  She also organized an after-school blanket making session, which resulted in 45 handmade blankets being delivered to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.  Victoria has been an active member of LINKS for her 3 years at Derby, providing support to students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She also has served at Gleaner’s Food Bank; at “Kids Against Hunger”; at Destination Derby helping to orient incoming 6th graders; at the Pierce Elementary Guided Reading Program stocking and organizing books; and Birmingham Safety Town.  For the past five years, Victoria has helped her grandfather clean veteran name plaques at the Port Huron Cemetery each Memorial Day.

Victoria was inspired to do community service by the many amazing people in her family and community that are so kind and helpful.  She believes that, “even the smallest actions have big meanings.  Whether it is giving someone a smile, a book, a blanket, or a bottle of water, you automatically brighten their day.”

BergstromJackson Bergstrom – Birmingham Covington School
Nominated by Mark Morawski, Principal

Jackson is volunteering his time with the Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial as they build a Moving Memorial to honor our Michigan veterans.  Jackson is assisting with construction of the memorial, which will be presented to the public at a gala at Somerset Collection this summer.  He also will be recruiting volunteers to work at the gala.  In addition, Jackson has cooked and served breakfast to participants in two 5K runs in Franklin, and was involved in the fall and spring clean-up of the Franklin baseball field.  He mentors young boy scouts, and has volunteered at his church’s Vacation Bible School and church cleanup.

Jackson is working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest level attainable in Boy Scouting.  His work with the Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial is a leadership project that is the final requirement for this rank advancement.

G. Budnar

Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn Budnar – Berkshire Middle School
Nominated by Jason Clinkscale, Principal

Gwendolyn volunteers at Premier Pet Supply weekly to help maintain a nurturing environment for animals.  At the pet store, she cleans the animals’ cages and interacts with them.  Her volunteer service provides the animals with a better quality of life.  In addition, Gwendolyn volunteers in her grandmother’s neighborhood by helping to set up special events for senior citizens, and transporting items that are necessary.  These events truly make the senior citizens feel happy.

Gwendolyn feels her service will make a difference by inspiring other kids to do the same.  She is motivated by her love for animals, and wants to know they are okay and loved.

 

Amanda

Amanda

Amanda Hubert – Berkshire Middle School
Nominated by Jason Clinkscale, Principal

Amanda has served as a personal shopper for the Brightmoor One Stop Shop for Christmas in Redford.  This included organizing the collection of age-appropriate toys and games for 100 children’s Christmas stockings that were distributed at Brightmoor.  She also organized the collection of much-needed personal items for the Brightmoor Free Store.  She volunteered to set up a Christmas store for youth at Cass Mom’s Place, and helped out at the event.  She has served her church community by volunteering as a Vacation Bible School counselor, helping out in a Sunday School classroom, and acolyting. Amanda helped to organize a recent National Junior Honor Society trip to the Friendship Circle.  She served on Berkshire’s Character Education Committee, and assisted with Berkshire’s application to be recognized as a National School of Character.  She also is a student helper at Parent Conferences and student orientations.

Amanda liked serving at the Brightmoor Project because it gave her the chance to directly help others who are less fortunate than she is.  She feels that, “It is very easy to be focused on my own interests.  Helping others is a good way to not only make a difference, but also to remember how fortunate I am.”

Ben Jarrett

Ben & his LINK friend

Ben Jarrett—Derby Middle School
Nominated by Elizabeth Wilde, School Social Worker

Ben is very active in the LINKS program, both inside and outside of Derby.  This is a peer to peer program, in which general education students interact with students with special needs to help model and teach them appropriate socialization and independence skills.  Ben participates on a weekly basis during his lunch and rec time.  He also takes LINKS as a class, and supports students in the classroom on a daily basis.  In addition, Ben has shown initiative by visiting with a student who is unable to attend Derby at this time.  He regularly meets with this student outside of school hours at the student’s home, so he can still benefit from the LINKS program.

As soon as Ben saw LINKS volunteers playing and eating lunch with the special needs students, he knew that he wanted to be part of it.  He believes that everyone should be treated the same, and that they should have a chance to just be a kid and have fun.  Ben says, “I feel like we can all learn things from each other.  I can help them have fun, and they can help me be a better person.”

Mia Lewis

Mia

Mia Lewis—Birmingham Covington School
Nominated by Mark Morawski, Principal

Mia serves on the Teen Youth Advisory Board for Wish Upon a Teen, an organization dedicated to providing resources, time and opportunities to teenagers with severe life-limiting medical conditions.  She has organized two events to raise money to decorate hospital rooms for teens who have diseases requiring long hospital stays.  Last school year, she reached out to the owner of Brooklyn Pizza in Birmingham to host a fundraiser.  Mia created a communication and marketing plan, including a video, and got the word out throughout BCS and Birmingham Public Schools.  This school year, Brooklyn Pizza reached out to Mia to plan a second event, this time to benefit both Wish Upon a Teen and the Birmingham Education Foundation.  In planning for this event, Mia recruited school staff members from across the district to participate as Celebrity Servers.  The event raised $721 for Wish Upon a Teen, and another $721 for the Birmingham Education Foundation.

Mia wanted to bring a bit of cheer to teenagers with life-limiting illnesses who are in hospitals for long periods of time.  She believes that decorating the room to make it “their own” will add some happiness to these teenagers’ lives. She really looks forward to her Sundays gardening in Detroit, as she strongly believes in creating a bridge from the suburbs to the city.

Sydney

Sydney

Sydney Pickell—Derby Middle School
Nominated by Mary Martin, Counselor & Nancy Johnson, Community School Organizer

For the last four years, Sydney has helped support the charity, Mrs. Mullen’s Closet.  The late Mrs. Mullen was a teacher and principal in Hart, Michigan, whose giving ways touched the lives of many.  The charity helps local families that have suffered loss or trauma, or who are experiencing hardship, to get up and running again.  It purchases items for these families including winter clothing, personal hygiene items, and other necessities.  Sydney designed, created, and sells a Michigan logo that is displayed on t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Her company, Bogey Designs, has raised over $1,000 for this cause.  She and her family also help at the semi-annual auction at Crystal Mountain, the proceeds of which go to the charity.

Sydney shares, “I wanted to donate whatever I could because I love the cause.  I like that it is local and that it quietly helps families.”  She supports the Mrs. Mullen’s Closet’s philosophy toward giving: “They don’t make a huge deal about it, and that is how I would want to be treated after a tragedy.”

Grace & her LINK

Grace & her LINK friend

Grace Shenefelt—Derby Middle School
Nominated by Elizabeth Wilde, School Social Worker

Grace is very active in the LINKS program at Derby.  This is a peer to peer program, in which general education students interact with students with special needs to help model and teach them appropriate socialization and independence skills.  Grace participates on a weekly basis with seven different students during her lunch and rec time.  She also takes LINKS as a class, and supports students in the classroom on a daily basis.  Outside of Derby, Grace also has volunteered with the Friendship Circle to continue her work with students with special needs.

Grace feels that she is making a difference in the lives of kids with special needs by giving up her lunch and rec time to hang out with them.  She also benefits from this program, saying, “It teaches me many important life skills, such as treating everyone as equals.  It also teaches me to not judge people based on how they look or act.”

Andrew Ouellette—Berkshire Middle School
Nominated by Jason Clinkscale, Principal

Andrew

Andrew

Andrew volunteers at Crossroads Soup Kitchen every month to serve people that are in need.  He has done this service for five years.  Andrew serves soup, makes sandwiches, and passes out food.  Volunteering gives him the ability to see the struggles and hardships that others face.

Andrew first helped at a soup kitchen because his mom wanted him to see how fortunate he was relative to others.  He says, “…I realized how lucky I was … [and] from that day on, I still love helping out less fortunate people in need.”  He feels that his contributions make a difference by showing those who are less fortunate that they are not alone.

Merna

Merna

Merna Zamzam – Berkshire Middle School
Nominated by Jason Clinkscale, Principal

Mema volunteers at a local mosque by teaching preschoolers Arabic, Quran and Islamic Studies.  She makes copies of the materials that are necessary to teach the students.  Mema has volunteered every Saturday for the past year.  Merna feels that volunteering is essential to help the youngsters succeed in life. She also feels that her contributions make a difference by inspiring the preschoolers to make positive decisions.

Merna also feels that her contributions make a difference by inspiring others to do the right things and to help their communities. “With all the things that people can volunteer for, we can have and live in a better world.” Looking ahead, she says, “in the future, I might have kids and I would want them to do important things like volunteering and helping people.”