Teen Activities & Volunteer Opportunities to Begin in September at Gilda’s Club Westchester
“Cancer does not only inhabit the person it chooses to attack, but their loved ones as well… This experience has taught me a lot about the value of living and the importance of family,” wrote Nicole Suozzo, one of three winners in this year’s “It’s Always Something” Teen Essay Contest sponsored by Gilda’s Club Westchester, a free cancer support community for anyone impacted by cancer (men, women, teens and children, along with their friends and family).
The teen essay contest is one of the activities for local teens offered by Gilda’s Club Westchester, located in White Plains. The activities there include the “Youth Committee,” a formal youth volunteer group; special evening events and activities for teens; an A Capella event in the spring; and the teen essay contest, which begins in January and is open to high school students in grades 9-12 throughout Westchester, Rockland and Lower Fairfield counties.
According to Amy Mlodzianowski, Gilda’s Club Westchester’s program director: “All of our teen activities support the emotions, questions and unexpected discoveries that emerge following a cancer diagnosis – not just for the person living with cancer, but for the whole family.”
Registration for the Youth Committee opens at the start of school in September. This volunteer group begins in the early fall and will meet one Sunday a month throughout the school year. The Gilda’s Club Westchester Youth Committee offers Westchester high school students an opportunity to get involved in outreach activities that provide support to people living with cancer.
During the last school year, the Youth Committee was comprised of approximately 40 students from 16 high schools throughout Westchester County including Valhalla, Briarcliff, Eastchester, Harrison, Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Irvington, Edgemont, Fox Lane, Pelham, Pleasantville, Mamaroneck, Hastings, and Blind Brook high schools, and Good Counsel and Rye Country Day School.
Some of the Youth Committee responsibilities are:
- Planning Gilda’s Club Westchester Awareness Days at their schools to inform their classmates and the community about Gilda’s Club Westchester. Previous Awareness Days have included: “Dancing with our Stars” at Eastchester High School, “Dress Down” days, bake sales, etc.
- “Noogiefest” is Gilda’s Club Westchester’s annual community-wide Halloween celebration and a favorite activity for the Youth Committee. Youth Committee members are responsible for planning and coordinating an activity at this annual Halloween party.
- Each April the Youth Committee coordinates the annual A Cappella Extravaganza fundraising event, sponsored by Gilda’s Club Westchester and hosted by the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. The event not only raises funds for Gilda’s Club Westchester programs and activities, but also raises awareness. Last year, 15 A Cappella groups from 10 local high schools (Rye Country Day School, the Masters School, and Bronxville, Mamaroneck, Westlake, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Briarcliff and John Jay High Schools) performed and vied for the honor of top high school vocalists. The Manhattanville College A Cappella group judges this event each year.
“The youth organizers do a great job of keeping Gilda's Club Westchester’s mission in focus through all of these celebrations. These talented teens bring their readiness, willingness and are able to help throughout the school year,” says Mlodzianowski.
Please contact Gilda’s Club Westchester for more info about the Youth Committee and the 2011-12 calendar of teen activities by calling, 914-644-8844.
The Gilda’s Club Westchester “It’s Always Something” Teen Essay Contest. This year’s three winning entries were submitted by Elisabeth Lefer (first place), Emma Adler (second place) Nicole Suozzo (third place), and Lauren Ciubotaru (runner up). The distinguished panel of judges included News 12 anchor Brian Conybeare and Michael Bram, drummer for Jason Mraz. Prizes included: a First Prize of a $500 cash award, ZDTV Keyboard and Livescribe Pen; a Second Prize of an Ipod Nano, Ipod accessories, ZDTV Keyboard and Kicker Earbuds; and a Third Prize of a $200 gift card to Lester’s of Rye, NY.
Gilda's Club Westchester, located at 80 Maple Avenue in White Plains. The mission of Gilda’s Club is to create welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends. Our innovative Program is an essential complement to medical care, providing networking and support groups, workshops, education and social activities. The first Gilda's Club opened in New York City in 1995 in honor of comedienne Gilda Radner, and in 2001, Gilda's Club Westchester opened its red doors at its current location in White Plains. Today, there are over 2,800 Gilda's Club Westchester members from Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield Counties.
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