Birmingham Youth Assistance and the Birmingham Optimists were proud to honor 11 Middle School and 22 High School students for their outstanding volunteerism in and around our community. This wonderful event was hosted at The Community House in Birmingham on Wednesday, April 12, 2016.
For 6 years BYA and the Optimists have co-hosted this event. We solicit and receive nominations from counselors, teachers, administrators, community school organizers and religious leaders. They help us identify the youth they feel have made a substantial contribution to our community. Family members, school administrators, local, county and state government officials, and members of Oakland County and Birmingham Youth Assistance, and the Birmingham Optimists, were among those celebrating the incredible work and unselfish hours of time given by the honorees. Schools represented were: Birmingham Covington School, Berkshire Middle School, Derby Middles School, Academy of the Sacred Heart, Detroit Country Day, Brother Rice High School, Groves High School, Lincoln Street Alternative High School, Marian High School, and Seaholm High School.
This year we were excited to be able to present to Stephanie Sills, a junior from Seaholm High School, the Jane Parker Ward Award and Scholarship. Since 1987 we have been proud to choose an outstanding youth to receive this award. Jane Parker Ward was a woman that believed in giving back to her community and we honor her by choosing a teen that has done the same.
Stephanie took on the task of organizing 5K run, the Lung Run/Walk, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. After giving more than 100 hours to organize this event, the first annual Lung Run raised $18,000 to help find a cure to cure cancer. Stephanie’s greatest inspiration for creating the Lung Run was her mother’s diagnosis of lung cancer. She wanted to do something for her mother, who has done so much to help Stephanie during her own hard times. She is proud that the money she and her team of volunteers raised will go directly to lung cancer research to help find a cure. She feels that “[her] contribution, though small, [was] a daily reminder to the kids with cancer that they have many supporters, some of whom they don’t even know.” Despite the incredible amount of work involved, Stephanie already is looking forward to the second annual Lung Run.
This year’s nominees were:
Middle School: Arielle Bauer, Victoria Beckeman, Jackson Bergstrom, Gwendolyn Budnar, Amanda Hubert, Ben Jarrett, Mia Lewis, Sydney Pickell, Grace Shenefelt, Andrew Ouellette, and Merna Zamzam.
High School: Nadeline Abro, Logan Biggs-Lucas, Meghan Coppen, Arianna Farina, Ryan Giniel, Stephanie Green, Angela Goncalves, Lane Griffiths, Matthew Hannawa, Kristen Harvey, Lisa Kamsickas, Jaclyn Krizanic, Laurel Lyngklip, Delphine Maddox, Grant Robertson, Alex Shulman, Stephanie Sills, Lorenzo Spagnuolo, Anna Van Dresser, Micaela Waynes, Irene Wilson, and Byron Work.