The 23 student recipients recognized at the 34th annual Youth Recognition Awards put on by the Farmington Youth Assistance program pose for a photo April 30 at Glen Oaks Country Club after being recognized for completing over 100 hours of community service and volunteerism.

The 23 student recipients recognized at the 34th annual Youth Recognition Awards put on by the Farmington Youth Assistance program pose for a photo April 30 at Glen Oaks Country Club after being recognized for completing over 100 hours of community service and volunteerism.

Photo by Karen Lippowiths


Farmington Youth Assistance recognizes 23 students for outstanding service work

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published May 8, 2019

 Thomas

Thomas

 Sweeting

Sweeting

 Cromwell

Cromwell

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FARMINGTON — A community is only as strong as the people living in it — that was the sentiment shared over a banquet-style breakfast at Farmington Youth Assistance’s 34th annual Youth Recognition Awards April 30 at Glen Oaks Country Club.

“No one insititution has the ability to do all of it,” said Mary Schusterbauer, the chief of Farmington Youth Assistance. “If we all throw our resources together, we can make something great happen.”

Every year, the program gathers to recognize students who have committed their time to volunteering and giving back to the community. This year, the program recognized 23 students who lent a helping hand in a number of ways — including through outreach, fundraising, mission trips, service learning opportunities, and starting their own clubs and organizations — all while balancing homework, extracurriculars, a social life and sleep.

“You don’t get a lot of sleep, to be honest,” laughed Shereen Thomas, 17, a junior at Farmington High School. “I don’t get on my phone that often. A lot of times I’ll delete Snapchat and Instagram just to give myself some more time to do the little things.”

With a cloud of stigmatization hovering above the millennial and Gen Z generations for being too connected to technology, these students use every minute in a 24-hour day. According to Jack Sweeting, 17, a junior at Farmington High School, the secret is using your time wisely and “managing to fit the pieces in.”

“Sometimes there isn’t much balance, but most of the time it’s just about managing your time well,” he said. “So sometimes you do your service work on the weekends, and you plan out your homework to do it right after school.”

For Megan Cromwell, 16, a junior at Farmington High School, she was simply excited to be there.

“I think this is a super exciting and awesome experience for anyone who gets the opportunity to get the award, because there’s a lot of students who do a lot of community service and don’t get recognized for it,” she said. “Being able to do this stuff isn’t easy work, but being able to get acknowledged for it is awesome.”

Despite the challenges that people may think sometimes come with volunteering, Cromwell said she believes that shouldn’t make other students and residents shy away from identifying causes they care about and helping out in the ways they can.

“When somebody thinks community service, they think it’s just working, but there’s a lot of fun activities Farmington and Farmington Hills puts on,” she said. “It’s more than just work. If you really enjoy it, it’s fun.”

Seeing the impact you’re having on a person or an organization or a park feels great — that’s what Lynn Halton, chairwoman of the youth recognition committee, sees as the biggest takeaway for these kids. She believes it’s extremely important for the students to be able to see the changes they’re making in the community, as well as to reflect on the impact their volunteer work is having on their lives.

“I feel like it gives them the courage to continue what they’re doing,” she said. “They realize their actions created change, so they keep going, and they go to college and join student organizations. They continue on and continue to create solutions to problems we have in our world and create positive change.”


Farmington Youth Assistance 34th annual Youth Recognition Award winners

• Shreya Bhoopathi
• Quincy Bowens
• Justin Bugeja
• Megan Joy Cromwell
• Brycen Cummings
• Troy Dawson
• Sonia Desai
• Elina Goryoka
• Madison Hales
• Logan Hause
• Zion Helms
• Atishay Kumar
• Anyah Lewis
• Nilay Mistry
• Elena Nicole Nicholson
• Vijaye Raphael Pinlac
• Benjamin David Raklta
• Molly Rose
• Alexcia Stoner
• Jack Sweeting
• Shereen Thomas
• Weirong (Peter) Wu
• Christopher Zervos

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