With great pleasure Electric Consumer announces the winners of the 2014 Youth Power and Hope Awards. They are:
Summer Allen, New Salisbury
Summer Allen, an eighth grader at North Harrison Middle School, has been instrumental in growing the Random Acts of Kindness Program at her school. The program teaches kindness through role modeling and rewarding kind acts done by fellow students.
Summer also established the Ride-Along-Friends program that collects stuffed animals and donates them to area police departments to keep in patrol cars. Officers then give the Ride-Along-Friends to children at domestic disputes, accident scenes … whenever the officer feels a child may need comfort.
She also volunteers at O’Bannon State Park and Patoka Reservoir, helping the naturalist with programs and special events and serves the local food pantry during canned food drives.
Summer’s home is served electrically by Harrison REMC.
Caroline Cooley, Connersville
“Do you like green bean casserole?” asks Caroline cooley, a seventh grader at Connersville Middle School. “I don’t, but I’ve made hundreds of them.”
She has been helping her mom on the bereavement committee at her church since she was very young.
Caroline also led a book drive to give over 500 books to underprivileged children and Riley Hospital for Children, and volunteers at local nursing homes playing piano for the residents. She has been active in volunteer projects with 4-H, the Fayette County Pork Producers and the Connersville bicentennial.
Caroline’s home is served electrically by Whitewater Valley REMC.
Emma Hamstra, DeMotte
Emma Kay Hamstra, a sixth grader at DeMotte Christian School, organized a garage sale of donated items last spring that raised $902 used to support a young girl in Zambia.
She followed that with a lemonade stand in June to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with her cousin Kate.
“The lemons were kindly donated by our local Tysen’s grocery store,” Emma wrote, “We had so many generous people.”
She also runs a children’s ministry in her basement when her parents host a small church group and visits a local nursing home with her mom and sister to sing hymns and give manicures to the ladies. Emma is also planning a Christmas party for kids who are less fortunate.
“Community service means more than the world to me. It means not only improving our kingdom, but improving God’s as well,” writes Emma. “To me, the greatest gift is a smile… When you put a smile on someone’s face, it puts a bigger one on God’s.”
Emma’s home is served electrically by Jasper County REMC.
Carter Swathwood, LafayetteCarter Swathwood became a “Riley Kid” in 2009 when he went into respiratory failure because of the H1N1 flu.
“I was airlifted to Riley, and they saved my life,” writes the Hershey Elementary fifth grader in his Youth Power & Hope application.
In 2012, he attended his first Purdue University Dance Marathon, which raises money for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He told his mom he had the “best time ever” and wanted to come back every year. “But next time,” he said, “we had to help.”
The following summer, Carter raised $5,764 for Riley. He was chosen as a 2014 Riley Champion and has been an ambassador for Riley, traveling to surrounding counties and Indianapolis to tell his story. He is working hard to raise $5,000 for Riley again through things like lemonade sales and more.
Carter’s home is served electrically by Tipmont REMC.
B.J. Yoho, Bloomfield
B.J. Yoho, a sixth grader at Eastern Greene Middle School, is also a Riley Kid. He was born with spina bifida and has had 17 surgeries since birth.
“Even though I did face challenges through those surgeries and that spina bifida has left me wheelchair bound, I do not let those challenges define who I am,” B.J. writes. “I do not have any limitations in being a positive light to other children and their families who may be facing challenges with their health.”
Since Riley did so much for B.J., he wanted to find a way to give back to other children at Riley and their families.
B.J. said he remembered when he received his first toy while at Riley and how it cheered him. “I then got the idea to start a Christmas toy drive for Riley Hospital to help patients and their families who are facing illnesses and other challenges around the holidays.”
Last year, B.J. — with help from family, friends, churches, businesses and schools, including Indiana University’s Dance Marathon for Riley — donated 3,348 toys and an additional $300 to Riley. Through his annual toy drive, B.J. has become known as “B.J. Claus” in the Bloomfield area and at Riley.
B.J.’s home is served electrically by Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC.
Electric Consumer and Indiana’s electric cooperatives established the awards in 2009 to recognize those from the state’s younger generation who are stewards of their communities. This past summer, the publication issued a call for entries from Indiana fifth through eighth graders who actively serve their communities.
The five winners will be honored during a presentation at the Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ Annual Meeting Dec. 9 in Indianapolis; and will receive a night’s stay in the capital city, among other highlights. In addition, they will attend a private reception with David Boudia, Olympic gold medal diver from Noblesville.