Nestlé USA Celebrates the Very Best in Youth
NO DREAMER IS EVER TOO SMALL,
NO DREAM IS EVER TOO BIG.
"Nestlé Very Best In Youth Program is part of Nestlé’s ongoing commitment to giving back to the communities in which our employees live and work. The program has honored 185 young people and donated more than $600,000 to charities in which the winners are involved.
"These young people, chosen by a blue ribbon committee of educators and business leaders from hundreds of entries nationwide, reflect the face of America. They are from small towns like Plano, Texas and large cities like Miami, Florida and San Diego, California. They have a variety of interests and are from every ethnic background. What they have in common is a love of reading and a strong desire to make their communities and the world a better place."
Chairman and CEO
10 years old – Coventry, Connecticut
“THE COMMUNITY HAS GIVEN ME SO MUCH THE LEAST I CAN DO IS TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE – ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.”
To ensure that other young people get an opportunity to share in his love of reading, Colin led a book drive for patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. He set up collection boxes at grocery stores and the library. He also made flyers that he passed out in his neighborhood. “I was able to collect more than 400 books,” Colin says. “I organized them by reading level and brought them to the hospital to be given to the patients.
“I also love writing and wanted more kids to be interested in it, so the same year as my book drive I started a 4th grade newspaper in my school called News Soup. When I started home schooling the next year, I took over the position of editor of the Sapling Times, the children’s newsletter of our regional home school group or about 100 families. Now I am in the third year of writing, collecting and editing submissions, and laying out the newsletter, and I still love it. I think it has made students in our home school group much more excited about writing and creating.
13 years old – Miami, Florida
“I KNOW THAT I AM BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE. I HAVE SEEN DEATH TAKE ITS TOLL ON MANY PEOPLE THAT I HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED.”
Six years ago, Bria was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare form of fone cancer. She went through a year of chemotherapy. “I am happy to say,” Bria says, “that I am a survivor. My cancer is in remission.”
Bria has been a tireless volunteer for the American Cancer Society, raising over $120,000. She has served as the honorary chairperson for the Relay for Life (Northwest Dade) program and has been a strong advocate for cancer research and funding on the national, state and local level. Each year she and her parents go to Tallahassee, Florida to speak with state legislators about increasing funding for cancer research. As an American Cancer Society Ambassador, Bria and her parents spent two days in WashingtonDC for “Celebration On The Hill,” an event in which Ambassadors and cancer survivors from all 50 states come together for a cancer walk and visits with local congressional people.
14 years old – San Diego, California
“I HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE I WORK REALLY HARD AND I’VE HAD THE SUPPORT OF A LOT OF GREAT PEOPLE, INCLUDING MY PARENTS AND THE PEOPLE AT KIDS KORPS.”
Community involvement is a big part of Aaron’s young life. He has been a member of Kids Korps USA, an organization that supports youth community service and leadership, since he was five. Among the activities Aaron is involved in are serving food to the homeless, making bookmarks for a literacy program, helping in the clean up of a local lagoon, assisting disabled children with equestrian therapy, and putting on parties for foster children.
A grateful community has recognized Aaron in a number of ways. He was given the Optimist Club Children’s Challenge Award, President’s Council Volunteer Service Gold Award, and Solana Pacific School’s Student Standout Award.
17 years old – Shreveport, Louisiana
“I FEEL THAT I HAVE CONTRIBUTED MOST TO MY COMMUNITY BY MOTIVATING OTHERS TO GET INVOLVED AND HELPING THEM REALIZE THAT EVEN AS TEENS, THEY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”
The 17-year-old who wants to become a medical doctor is already doing research, in hopes of finding cures for many of the diseases that plague our society. “When I first took biology in high school I realized that science was my passion,” Niharika says. “In my sophomore year I had the opportunity to work with a biomedical researcher at a local hospital. I even came up with my own research project. My grandmother has always used garlic as a cure for a number of illnesses. We didn’t know what it was, but it always seemed to work. My research project tested the antifungal effects of garlic on Cryptococcus neoformans (a yeast that causes meningitis in patients with compromised immune systems). I want to continue the research to see if there is something in garlic that could lead us to cures for diseases like AIDS and cancer.”
17 years old – Miami, Florida
“IT MAKES ME WORK EVEN HARDER KNOWING THAT IF I CAN DO WELL IN SCHOOL AND GET MY MEDICAL DEGREE, I CAN BECOME A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN THE WORLD.”
“I believe the major problem in the world,” says Rebecca Espinosa, “is ignorance and apathy. It is very sad to say, but the majority of people live in their little niche and do not care about the lives of others around them. If you were to ask folks on the street or in the shopping malls about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, about children in the shams of South America, about global warming, they couldn’t tell you a thing about what is going on, and what is really sad, they don’t care.”
Rebecca is one who cares. Through her church, she has worked with homeless children in Ecuador and Cuba. Two days a week, she tutors pregnant teens at the Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center South in math and reading to help them pass the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
17 years old – Greenville, North Carolina
“IT SADDENS ME TO LIVE IN A SOCIETY WHERE SUCCESS IF MEASURED BY FAME AND WEALTH, INSTEAD OF HOW WE TOUCH THE LIVES OF OTHERS.”
Parteek is already making a huge difference in his community. Known as kid who volunteers, Parteek at nine years old, raised over $1,000 for the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation to purchase a swing-set for handicapped children. He has worked with Meals on Wheels, collected over 400 books for children with AIDS in Africa, has accumulated over 100 hours of volunteer time at the local Boys and Girls Club, and created TSUNAMI (Together Support Urges Necessary Assistance More Immediately), a community-wide campaign that raised over 15,000 medical supplies for the victims of tragedy. Parteek is currently chair of the Optimist Club’s Childhood Cancer Campaign.
Says Parteek: “I dream of the day when I can open a newspaper or magazine and see the front page filled with extraordinary role models around the world; not their faults and countless criticism, but the accomplishments that have resulted in the world being a better place.”
17 years old – Carlsbad, California
“I WOULD LOVE TO BE IN A POSITION TO BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD LIKE MAHATMA GANDHI DID.”
Danielle is the National High School Coordinator for Student Peace Alliance, and along with a community member, founded Kids for Peace. “The non-profit organization,” Danielle says, “focuses on spreading peace locally and globally through teaching young people about foreign cultures and the necessity of community service, two essential elements in the peace formula. The group started with 10 members and quickly grew to 45. Our signature project is the creation of “peace packs,” individualized knapsacks filled with school supplies, toys, personal hygiene items, and a friendly note to children. The packs are then sent to children all over the world to spread the message of peace through service.”
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