Ferndale Youth Assistance Awards Show Community Helping Children
Youth Aid Ferndale The awards show a community that helps children
(Alissa Malerman, March 26, 2017)
FERNDALE – The Ferndale Youth Aid Program welcomed students, teachers, elected officials and lawyers as they pulled chairs in the busy college high school cafeteria to honor the contributions of young volunteers in the community at the Young Jack and Annette Aronson Recognition Awards ceremony Thursday (March 23) night.
“Tonight it’s all about the young people,” said former Ferndale mayor and current FYA treasurer Craig Covey, who was the event’s emcee. “I’m going to introduce you to some elected officials and a lot of important people. But really, tonight is not for them. It’s about young people.
Among the list of schools and elected officials in attendance were Karen Ballard, Trustee of the Township of Royal Oak, Mayor of Pleasant Ridge Kurt Metzger, County Commissioner Helaine Zach, Principal of Ferndale High School Roger Smith, Principal of the Ferndale Middle School Jason Gillespie and Ferndale Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt.
“I want you to watch and see the police, teachers, school officials, volunteers, your parents, your uncle, your aunt,” Covey said. “The adults are here tonight because of you.”
One adult who was there in support was the Army Sgt. Robert Robinson, who came to the ceremony specifically to see Angelo Soave receive an award. Sgt. Robinson said he has been working with Angelo for the past few months and that Angelo has expressed interest in joining the military when he graduates from Ferndale High School in the coming months.
Angelo was recognized after FHS social studies professor Bob Henderson named him, writing in a letter that “he has a wonderfully positive mental attitude which will serve him well in life”.
Young people take the stage
AFY President Alyssa Atkinson spoke about the importance of volunteering and invited young people to get involved in the program, reiterating Covey’s call to honor the young people in attendance. “It’s all about young people,” she said before starting to hand out certificates to the winners.
More than 40 people, along with eight groups, took home the Youth Aid Awards Thursday, for their many volunteer or Good Samaritan actions, including volunteering at the Ferndale Police Department’s Bike Rodeo, helping to raising money for the organization, helping the homeless, getting involved in efforts to clean up Detroit, helping the elderly cross a busy Nine Mile road, working with local peer-to-peer programs or simply by being compassionate and kind examples in the community.
Skye Hart, a high school student from Ferndale High School, won the David Michael Smith Scholarship this year for her service and perseverance. The fund was established in memory of David, who was a student at Ferndale High School when he was hit by a train and killed in 2006. His parents, Dianna and Lloyd Smith, started the scholarship to benefit Ferndale Youth Assistance . The Youth Assistance is now fundraising in David’s honor and was able to present Skye with a check for $ 1,000.
Skye was nominated for the scholarship by FHS teacher Paula Cardelli, among others.
“He’s a person who faces challenges head-on,” Cardelli said in a letter. The letter explained that Skye had hearing loss in both ears which required the use of hearing aids and an adaptive stethoscope in the classroom and on the job as a nursing assistant at Beaumont Hospital.
“Skye is comfortable explaining her disability and asking for any support she might need,” Cardelli said in the letter, bragging about Skye’s 3.8 grade point average, love for science and math and his participation in many extracurricular activities.
Hardworking, caring, compassionate, trustworthy, loyal and organized are some of the terms Skye uses. modestly to describe himself. And I completely agree. She will be an asset to her school, her work and her community.
Skye thanked her parents and Cardelli for support, and was moved by the “touching letter” which was read by Covey during the ceremony. Skye said Cardelli was there to support her throughout the four years of high school.
“In ninth grade, I was scared. I didn’t want anyone to know about my disability, ”she said. “Now that I’m a senior… I recognize my hearing loss. I love to tell my story to people and help others tell their story. So thank you for this opportunity and this scholarship.
Hart was also nominated for a service award by Ferndale Constable Janessa Danielson.
“Skye has been an absolutely fantastic and dedicated volunteer for Ferndale Youth Assistance,” Danielson wrote in her letter of appointment. “She was instrumental in planning many of our events and worked hard at every event that she was capable of.”
Young people weren’t just there to receive prizes. Lady Legatos, a vocal group made up of students from Ferndale Public School, sang an acapella rendition of OneRepublic’s “I Lived”, followed by a performance of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” Presley. Other entertainment included a musical performance by George and Kita Van Der Vennet.
More community winners
Officer Danielson and Smith won special awards for their community service. Each received a certificate and presented an American flag from Representative Sandy Levin, who were previously flown to the United States Capitol. Covey read statements written by FYA office manager Melinda Hicks while presenting the awards and flags.
“Roger Smith has been a constant at Ferndale Schools for most of his life. He not only attended Ferndale Schools and graduated from FHS, but he was also our longtime group director. He has held many positions, most recently as Principal of Ferndale High School, ”he read. “We want to thank Roger for serving on the Ferndale Youth Assistance Board of Directors and for always being so open to our ideas and cooperative with our events and workshops.”
Covey commended Agent Danielson for her service as the Ferndale School Resource Officer, Co-Chair of our Youth Engagement Committee, her involvement in the South East Oakland Coalition and is working on programs such as the Teen Safe Driving event, among others.
“One of our favorite aspects of Officer Danielson is that she has incredible instincts when working with students,” Covey read. “She inherently knows which students need her nourishing ‘mom’ side and which students need the police side of her. She gets along so well with our children and they all love and respect her.
Mary Schusterbauer, Youth Welfare Officer for Oakland County, spoke briefly, saying, “I am honored to be here tonight. She thanked the many volunteers who she said gave between 45,000 and 50,000 hours of time each year to “strengthen families.”
“You strengthen your neighborhood and also our county,” she beamed, ending with a quote from James Agee (“Let us now praise famous men):
“In every child who is born, under any circumstances, and from any parent, the potentiality of the human race is reborn. “
Ferndale Lower Elementary School Green Team, Ferndale Lower Elementary Service Team, Ferndale Lower Elementary Junior Coaches, Ferndale Upper Elementary Junior Coaches, Fundraising Group Fourth-grade Pokemon, Ms. Trolinger’s third-grade class, Positively Awesome Leaders (PAL), and Southeast Oakland Coalition Group youth were recognized at the event.
Brooklyn Austin, Antonio Alexander, Ebony Alexander, Elizabeth Bringman, Ruth Brisson, Kaleb Brown, Peyton Carney, Asyia Cohran, Jemone Cochran II, Mario Combs, Tristan Curry, Kameron Davenport, Kobe Falls, Tamia Hardeman, Taniah Hopkins, Coran Hymes, Sidnie Jackson, Avery Jewett, Nicholas LaCroix, Luke Kelly, Khalilah Lane, John Lemelin, Maria Lopez-Romero, Zyren Mackey, Delvon Martin-Guyton, Ronnell McGhee Jr., Haley Newton, Meagan Parham, Danah Pearson, John Rojas, Elliott Sears, Olivia Shock, Isaiah Shoot, Ethan Simpson, Joshua Smith, Elijah Toney, Derion Walker Jr ., Joseph Welbeck-White, Drake Wilson-Carney and Wheeler Winslow were recognized along with Soave and Hart for their individual services during the ceremony.
Youth assistance programs are community-based and developed by volunteers who live and / or work in surrounding communities. The Circuit Court provides professional staff to work with volunteers and to provide direct case processing services. Ferndale Youth Assistance works under the sponsorship and financial support of the Ferndale School District, Town of Ferndale, Town of Pleasant Ridge, Township of Royal Oak and Oakland County Circuit Court Division. Visit ferndaleya.org for more information.