Quakertown Community High School student and National Honor Society member Anya Kelly was named the county’s top teen volunteer during the ceremony. She has worked extensively with China Care, a group which helps orphans deemed by their people as be unadoptable. Over the past three years, Anya has helped raise over $7,000 for the group and even traveled to Asia to volunteer. Aside from her work with China Care, Anya has helped tutor peers with school work and volunteered as a counselor at St. Luke's Vacation Bible School.
State Representative Bernie O’Neill offered the teens some advice during the ceremony. “The best thing I can tell the kids is to continue your service and make it a lifelong commitment.”
“I’m in awe of all 15 of you ladies and gentleman,” Dr. Helen Gross, an administrator for the Council Rock School District, said. Gross added that she hopes all of the students will carry on their volunteerism.
Fourteen other teens from across the county were honored for their service to the community during the 18th annual celebration.
All the honorees were presented with a certificate and a monetary award.
- Peter Czerwonka is heavily involved with the Health Occupations Students of America program at his school, Archbishop Wood. He has also volunteered his time at Holy Redeemer Hospital. Pete has worked extensively with the high school’s community service outreach group, Operation Santa Claus and Aid for Friends.
- Alexandria Barkman, who has one of the highest grade point averages in her class at Bensalem High School, helps tutor middle-schoolers in her community, volunteers at Bensalem Presbyterian Church and Libertae Halfway House.
- Musician and Central Bucks East student Kara Shen has given time teaching classes at a school in rural Taiwan. She has also volunteered at Doylestown Hospital, Autism Cares Foundation and helps organize music programs for area senior citizens. In addition, Kara is a member of the Key Club at her school.
- Francesca Bova, a senior at Central Bucks South, donated much of her time helping special needs students in her community. She also volunteered serving food at local soup kitchens, Toys for Tots and worked the polls as a volunteer with Kids Voting.
- Central Bucks West student Margaret Brennan helped organize Stars and Stripes Club at her school. The club writes letters and sends much-needed supplies to military service men and women overseas. Her volunteerism doesn't stop there, she also gives time to the Pearl S. Buck International Foundation, Coalition for Autism Awareness and has volunteered as field hockey coach with the Doylestown Athletic Association.
- Hana Britland donates much of her free time to Conwell-Egan High School’s community service program. She has worked with the Appalachian Initiative, which fixes homes for the less fortunate, and volunteers at Queen of the Universe Church. Hana also walked in the 2010 Polish Day Parade in Philadelphia.
- Julie Waldon, a Council Rock North student, has helped tutor younger students and mentored middle school students in her community. She has also volunteered at Grace Point Church and worked on the local Operation Christmas Child program .
- Council Rock South student Kimberly Branigan has volunteered at Davisville Church, Tyler State Park, mentored her peers and traveled to Mexico to give her time. She has also given time to Council Rock’s service learning program.
- Agar Extantus only recently moved to Harry S. Truman High School from Florida, but she has already made quite an impact on her community. She spends much of her free time volunteering with the school’s Variety of Individual Cultural Expression group. She has also helped with blood drives, is a literacy volunteer and works with Toys for Tots.
- Erika Emery has tutored elementary school students in the Neshaminy School District, where she attends the district’s high school and plays in the school orchestra. She has also donated her time to help at Planned Parenthood’s Rainbow Room and the Bucks County Partnership for Healthy Teens.
- Stefanie Wolcott, a Palisades High School student, helps local seniors with daily household activities they can no longer complete. She also is a volunteer at St. Luke's Hospital, Eco-Bucks and has assisted the needy in Romania and Germany.
- Pennsbury High School senior Ben Schreiber has volunteered much of his free time at Woods Services and is respected by all of those he works with. Ben, in addition, serves at the high school’s Humanity in Progress program and is editor of the school’s newspaper. He also donated his time to at a local retirement home.
- Villa Joseph Marie senior Ashley Miletto volunteers with local middle school students with school work, the Northampton Library and senior citizens at Twining Village Nursing Home. In addition, she serves as a member of the Villa Joseph Marie’s Ministry and Service Team.
- Jared Band, a William Tennent senior, is a member of his high school’s National Honor Society and Key Club. He donates time working with the homeless, helping teach pre-schoolers at his synagogue, Aid for Friends, local Red Cross blood drives and Good Shepard Rehabilitation Hospital.
The students recognized for their volunteer work were submitted by members of their school community. The winner of the Teen Volunteer of the Year Award was picked by a selection committee.