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Youth Assistance honors 36 kids for making the community a better place

Thirty-six students were honored by Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance for their good deeds, compassion, selflessness and volunteer spirit. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
May 14, 2014 - Thirty-six students ranging from elementary age to high schoolers were honored May 8 for their positive contributions to the community and helpfulness to others during the Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance (OAYA) Annual Youth Recognition Ceremony held in the middle school commons.

"Volunteerism is at the core of what we do," said Mary Schusterbauer, chief of Oakland County Youth Assistance. "One thing I know about volunteers, because I know so many of them, is that quite often when I thank them for what they do, they kind of minimize (it). They say, 'Oh, it's nothing.'

"But you as volunteers, the young people who are here tonight, you are part of a dynamic force. I don't want you to minimize what you've done or not be proud of what you've done."

The students who were honored by OAYA donated food to the less fortunate, provided encouragement and assistance to classmates, demonstrated compassion, perseverance and leadership, volunteered at the library and set an good example for others.

Honorees included Delxino Alexander, Megan Armbruster, Simon Arnold, Owen Benear, Jake Billis, Jakob Butterfield, Spencer Clifton, Kathryn Daily, Jesse Downs, Leah Farmer, Skylar Gross, John Hassenzahl, Skye Kennedy, Lily Kilgore, Brian Kostick, Brenda Lozano, Brittany Martinez, Hannah Mazurek, Brennan McDevitt, Jack McFarlin, Piper McFarlin, Ryan McMahon, Tristin Renee Medeiros, Christian Mendoza, Melodie Mitchell, Chase Moore, Matthew Mullins, Nathan Mullins, Nate Olson, Dylan Pauley, Anna Skelley, Margaret Skylis, Thomas Wandrie, Sera Weaver, Gillian Yocum and Julia Reynolds.

Schusterbauer stressed to the honorees the importance of volunteerism in the United States.

"In 2012, there were 64.5 million Americans that gave 7.9 billion hours worth of volunteer time," she said. "When you put a dollar amount on that, it's $175 billion of volunteer time happening across our country.

"What would happen if tomorrow, everybody who volunteered in our country said, 'Nope, not doing it. Not volunteering.' What would not happen in our country? Think about how hard it would be to call somebody to rescue a puppy or to pick up a puppy (from) a rescue (group). Or what about the Red Cross – think about the valuable things they do – and all the volunteerism that goes on in our churches, in our schools and all of our little leagues.

"We need volunteers in our country and in other words, kids, we need you and all the things that you're doing."

Leader Editor C.J. Carnacchio was the guest speaker at the event. His speech can be read in its entirety on Page 6.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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