News Column

Milford Youth Awards honor kids, teens who make difference

July 14, 2014

New Haven Register, Conn.

July 14--MILFORD -- Mayor Benjamin G. Blake and Milford Youth and Family Services have presented awards to a few outstanding young people as part of the 26th Annual Mayor's Youth Award, according to a press release from City Hall.

The awards are given to youth who demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improve the Milford Community and were nominated by teachers, parents, clergy, friends and group leaders.

According to the press release, the recipients are:

--Meadowside Elementary School student Max Kimmel, who wanted to donate all his Halloween candy to those serving in the military, collected for "Operation Gratitude," which aims to lift the spirits of active duty soldiers and veterans. He encouraged other students at the school to donate and in two weeks, Max collected over 95 pounds of candy, 20 toothbrushes, toiletries and letters.

--Another elementary school student, Kamijah Wilkes, has volunteered countless hours to help peers and staff at the Boys & Girls Club, where she's been a member since age 6.

"Kamijah has proven herself to be trustworthy, responsible and caring," according to the release. At only 10-years-old, Kamijah participates in a number of programs offered at the club, including: We Heart Art, Snack Attack, Model Club, Girl Scouts, Scrapbooking and Torch Club, which focuses on education, health, fitness and character development. Kamijah is already secretary of the Torch Club, when typically, members must be 11 before they can participate in the program!

--Middle School student James Wright, who has special needs, has "overcome many hardships in his 13 years to become an amazing success story," according to the mayor's release. After spending many summer's at Camp Happiness, which serves special needs students, James is applying to be a junior camp counselor so he can spend the summer helping other kids. James assists his mother in their fundraiser "Jam 4 Jimi's Friends," which helps local children with special needs afford medical care, ramps, hearing aids and for scholarships to Camp Happiness. "Jam 4 Jimi's Friends" also funds trips that allow kids and their families can enjoy themselves and bond together.

--Jonathan Law High School student Matthew Capobianco has also given numerous volunteer hours working for people with special needs both inside and outside of school. His family has always been involved with Special Olympics volunteering their time as a family to help run the events, according to the press release. Matt even recruited his fellow National Honor Society members to help out at an event this past fall. Matt also participated in the Unified Sports Program throughout his four years of high school.

--Also honored as a group are girls from New England Ballet Company who are mentors in an adaptive ballet class run through Milford'sRecreation Department's Adaptive Program. The program, led by Deb Marchese, is designed to involve those of all abilities in Milford and surrounding areas with the joy of dance, the freedom to express who they are and involve the community to meet social needs. The mentors from this group are "young, strong, disciplined and caring," according to the mayor's release. "Their patience, dedication and desire to help each child do his/her best is second to none." The mentors also raise awareness in the community of people with disabilities, according to the release.


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Source: New Haven Register (CT)

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