Four city youths were recognized for their efforts in making Paterson a better place through community service and academic work during the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Recognition Awards.
The young people recognized were Justine Clemons, Wilmary Medina, Loreidaly Perez, and Amanny Ahmed. One adult was also recognized at the awards. Gwendolyn De Leon who started the Sigma Chi Iota Sorority for young women at School 6.
Clemons and Medina, both eighth graders, have high grade-point-averages and spend a lot of time volunteering.
Clemons has a 3.75 GPA at School 6. The eighth grader participates in Sigma Chi Iota, the Sigma Steppers, the School 6 Drum Corp, Gear-Up, Project P.R.I.D.E, and the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) Mentoring Program.
Medina, a School 18 student, is a tutor to other students at her school and has volunteered at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Medina has a 4.0 GPA.
Perez and Ahmed, two John F. Kennedy High School STEM Academy students, maintain 4.5 GPAs and participate in many community organizations.
Perez, a 10th grade student, is an active member of AFOOFA (All For One, One For All), UMOJA, MAPP, the Cultural Diversity Club, the Green Club, and Inside Tutoring for Struggling Students.
Perez tutors students struggling with math at her school sometimes skipping her lunch period to help others.
“I will continue to push myself further and apply myself more towards my academics and community works,” Perez told the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC). The nonprofit group’s Paterson Youth Council hosts the annual award ceremony.
The council is made up of 30 city teenagers who participate in a yearlong leadership development program through the NJCDC. The council selected the five individuals and one organization from over 70 nominations from schools, organizations, and city residents.
Project P.R.I.D.E./Groove Leadership Academy was recognized with the youth service organization award. A national organization Groove Phi Groove looks to increase the number of minority men in colleges.
The group established the Junior Groovers Mentoring Club at School 6 and 10 providing mentoring, guidance, and emotional support for children attending both schools.
300 people attended the Paterson Youth Council’s 2016 awards at the Brownstone House. Among them city and state leaders.
“Seeing these young people making such a difference in their community is exactly what Dr. King believed in,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said at the award ceremony on Monday.