NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – New Rochelle resident Jake Gallin, 13, was named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for his volunteer work on behalf of military families.
He was nominated by Volunteer New York and selected by the Prudential Foundation as a National Honoree from a field of more than 33,000 youth volunteers from across the country. He also received recognition from state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader.
“Jake Gallin’s efforts to recognize the sacrifices made by military families, whether they have a loved one serving in the military currently, or have lost a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice, is exemplary” Stewart-Cousins said. “He continues to volunteer his time, to raise money and awareness with his ‘Stars for Cars’ initiative, and as a result, he has received well-deserved national, and now state recognition.”
“It was a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was so glad to be there, to take part in it. I’m so grateful,” Gallin said.
The seventh-grader at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle has raised more than $19,000 for the United Service Organization by selling star-shaped magnets for cars that honor military families in his “Stars for Cars” initiative.
After watching First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speak on a talk show about the needs of military families, Gallin started “Stars for Cars” to raise awareness of the sacrifices military families make here at home while a loved one is serving in the military (a Blue Star family) or is lost while serving in the military (a Gold Star family).
Gallin also reached out to schools across New York State to make the “3 Holidays Announcements,” on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Patriot Day (9/11). His message is to remember the ‘Blue and Gold Star’ military families and thank them for their sacrifice.
More than 100 schools and districts in New York have signed on to make these public announcements.
Gallins plans to donate the personal award of $5,000 to Volunteer New York and another $5,000 grant he also received from the Prudential Foundation to the USO.
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