2011 Community Service Award winners recognized
Two Needham High School Juniors, Danielle Penny and Jake Bulian, were recognized with 2011 Community Service Awards at the Club's January 20th meeting.
The Exchange Club's Community Service Awards were created last year to recognize Needham
High School freshmen, sophomores or juniors who have demonstrated a commitment to community service through clubs or
organizations that serve our community.
Danielle Penny is a peer tutor in the Peer Tutor Program which matches a high school student with an elementary or middle school student for tutoring. The goal is to provide academic assistance and other help to these students to help them become better students. She has done this for the past three years. Last year Danielle helped create another mentoring program Mentor Network. Mentor Network pairs a high school student with a special needs student for one-on-one social skills support.
Danielle has also served on Needham’s Youth Services Board of Directors. In the words of the Youth Services staff, Danielle is "a role model to other peer tutors, and her dedication and drive to make the mentor network successful is proof that she is a leader in her community.”
Jake Bulian is involved in the Needham High School’s Gay Straight Alliance. The organization promotes understanding, acceptance, and support for students having a difficult time with their gender/sexual identity and works to create a safe place throughout the high school for all students. Meeting once a week, the organization plans events and talks about student experiences, but they aim to reach all students, so they plan events which welcome the entire student body. Some events include “Speak-Out Assemblies” and Workshops. Jake has helped raise awareness of issues affecting high schoolers and helped create a safer place for all students at Needham High.
Tom Denton, Needham's Director of Guidance, wrote that “Jake is a unifying force in the GSA and in high school in general. He is a skilled communicator and organizer and is often the one who steps up to the plate to ensure that events take place and are well done."
Danielle and Jake will be be invited
to submit a short proposal to the Exchange Club for a cash donation to the organization
they work with. Last year, four students were recognized in the inaugural year of the Community Service Awards,
and $750 cash donations were made to support the work of "Take Back the Night" and Rockets Against
Destructive Decisions (RADD).