COMMUNITY Y TEENS HELP KIDS NEAR AND FAR

aishaCommunity YMCA members Aisha Bhoori of Middletown and Sahar Akbarzai of Old Bridge are coordinating a school supply drive through the YMCA to help give kids in Red Bank and Afghanistan a great start to the new school year.

Press release from The Community YMCA

Now through August 15,  The Community YMCA is hosting a school supply drive to help give kids from as near as Red Bank — and as far away as Afghanistan — a great start to the new school year. The drive is part of the Y’s new national Togetherhood initiative, that encourages Y members to give back and support their neighbors through community service projects.

Y members Sahar Akbarzai of Old Bridge and Aisha Bhoori of Middletown, both recent high school graduates, expressed an interest in a school supply drive, and through Togetherhood, were able to lead the effort. Both have established their own nonprofit organizations — the Hope Foundation of Afghanistan and Dreamers Without Borders, respectively — to provide support to children in war-torn Afghanistan.

Akbarzai, whose family is from Afghanistan, and Bhoori, whose family is from Pakistan, are grateful for the donations of school supplies that will be shared with the Afghan children. “It’s wonderful to see a community come together and donate their time to help another community on the other side of the world,” Akbarzai said.

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COUNSELORS HONOR STUDENT HEROES AT BCC

DawnandandSarahRed Bank Regional student Sarah Vates (left) accepted a Caring Award from RBR guidance counselor Dawn Kaszuba at a March 20 event sponsored by the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association. The senior from Holmdel won the award for her work in spearheading Cinderella’s Closet, a nonprofit that provides prom clothes for teens from low income households. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Red Bank Regional High School’s Guidance Director Dawn Kaszuba and her peers look forward each year to a special event held at Brookdale Community College. As President of the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association (MCGDA), she has the pleasure of honoring the community service stars in Monmouth County’s high schools. Thirty-four students were so honored on March 20, where a video in their own words signified why each student was selected to receive the MCGDA Caring Award.

The recipients were each chosen by the Guidance Directors in their respective high schools. Kaszuba, who also serves as President of the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association, which sponsors the Caring Award, was pleased to present the honor to RBR student Sarah Vates. The senior from Holmdel won the award for her work with Cinderella’s Closet, a charity that provides teenagers with affordable clothing and accessories to attend prom.

Sarah has spearheaded Cinderella’s Closet for several years. Its mission is to bring affordable prom clothes to those who might otherwise not be able to participate in this high school milestone event. She stated in her video, “What makes this activity so special is the look on the girl’s face when she finds that perfect prom dress, or the swagger of the young man when he finds that perfect suit.”

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PORTER, M’TOWN TEEN HONORED AT MLK EVENT

Y MLKAt left, Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter (center) accepts a proclamation from Red Bank Council members Kathleen Horgan and Edward Zipprich. At right, Middletown HS South senior Aisha Boori (center) displays the Humanitarian Award presented to her during the annual YMCA Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Flanking her are essay contest winners Xavier Norman and Sahar Akbarzai.

A Middletown Township teen was the recipient of an annual Humanitarian Award from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at a January 20 event that also saw a proclamation honoring the pastor of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Curch.

During the 25th annual YMCA Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Aisha Boori was presented with the award given each year to a Monmouth County student who “exemplifies the definition of a humanitarian and conveys the character values of the Y: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.”

The Middletown High School South senior was recognized for her co-founding of a non-profit organization, Dreamers Without Borders, dedicated to collecting food supplies for Afghan refugees who are housed at an immigration center, as well as Tibetan refugees from a village school in India.The award was presented by First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux.

Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter delivered the keynote address to a crowd of approximately 300 people gathered at Branches Catering in West Long Branch.The pastor also received a proclamation from Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna and council, for his dedicated service to the Red Bank community.

Each year, teens enrolled in Monmouth County YMCA programs are invited to submit essays reflecting on Dr. King’s words, on how they can follow in his footsteps to improve the welfare of others and serve their community.This year’s essay winners were Xavier Norman, a freshman at Monmouth Regional High School, and Sahar Akbarzai, a senior at Old Bridge Regional High School. The essay winners were each rewarded with a $500 scholarship.

The annual breakfast was hosted by The Community YMCA and the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, and sponsored by Meridian Health and Sunrise Optimist Club.In addition to presenting the awards, the Ys collected non-perishable food items to support Lunch Break of Red Bank.