Source: New Jersey Patch
As part of their annual Nancy and Robert Eskow NCJW Volunteer Awards, the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) paid tribute to three local students.
Giulia Russo, a student at James Caldwell High School, a senior attending James Caldwell High School, was 12 years old when she was informed that she had a large hole (atrial septal defect) in her heart that only open heart surgery could fix. Although this information would change Russo’s life forever, the positive path she followed stands out. She became involved with the Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Coalition and has led a drive for the past 5 years to distribute journals to patients during treatment.”
Mark Curtis, a senior at Orange High School, began volunteering with the non-profit organization Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), where he was able to expand his knowledge about substance abuse in order to help his community. To make a community-level change, we must involve the community in our efforts,” Curtis said. “Once we do this, the room for growth is endless.”
To honor his efforts to prevent substance abuse, Curtis has been presented with other awards, and was selected as the sole United States delegate to the United Nations Youth Forum.
Allison Kofsky, a senior attending Columbia High School, was 15 when she started her own district program called Playground Pals to aid and spread awareness of children impacted by Selective Mutism (SM) a rare childhood anxiety disorder that hinders people’s ability to vocalize in various settings.
Allison’s inspiration behind this program was generated from her younger cousin’s experience battling SM. Playground Pals assists children struggling with Selective Mutism with feeling included and less isolated during their lunch and recess periods,” Kofsky said. “It quite literally, provides a voice to the voiceless.”
These outstanding students each received a $500 scholarship and an award certificate from NCJW/Essex.