This year we received 28 outstanding Top Teen nominations. Criteria which needed to be met by our nominated Top Teens were:
- Youth must be between 13-18 years of age and currently attending school in Black Hawk County.
- Fulfilling a need within Black Hawk County through their service to others;
- Demonstrating commitment to volunteerism through their time and effort, and;
- Participating in or contributed
to a significant volunteer effort.
Elizabeth Bair is a dedicated volunteer, accumulating over 120 hours of service in the past nine months! She is actively involved with the Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls by volunteering as a small group leader for children, and also serves on the Sunday school worship team. She is always giving back to the Cedar Valley community in various ways, whether it is her continuous contributions to Hudson High School events, volunteering in the Black Hawk Children’s Playhouse Costume Shop, or by leading worship for various Vacation Bible School programs. Elizabeth’s volunteering philosophy is that she is “blessed to be a blessing,” which is what makes her a Top Teen.
A member of the band and symphony orchestra, Maya put her musical abilities to good use as the Kingsley Elementary School Music Club volunteer. For the past three years, he has committed her time to help children learn to read rhythms. Her teaching skills are also utilized as a volunteer figuring skating coach at Young Arena. Maya is truly preparing the next generation of, not only musical and athletic talents, but also of volunteers. For this reason, Maya is a Top Teen.
Ishia Byrd has been a passionate volunteer in the Cedar Valley community. She has been an outstanding volunteer with Allen Hospital for 2 years by assisting visitors in finding the perfect gift in the gift shop, training new volunteers, and completing projects efficiently. She also volunteers at her school, helping out with musicals and plays. Ishia has a big heart for service and has learned how rewarding it can be to help others. Ishia’s ongoing commitment and graciousness has made her a 2014 Top Teen.
Haley loves the ideas of expressing her personal beliefs, as well as bringing people together. She participates in Medley, an organization designed to reach out and welcome all Columbus students together. In fact, Haley was the founder of this club! She plans all the events in order to bring awareness to bullying, diversity and service opportunities. For two years, she has worked endlessly to organize service projects at the Salvation Army and Catholic Worker House, to name a few. In addition, she also works to bring in speakers, and promote diversity, which is something she finds very valuable. Her innovation and drive make Haley a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Reumina may only be a junior in high school, but she has a mature view of the world, due in large part to her participation in activities such as National Honors Society, and Business Professionals of America, both of which help Reumina stay goal-oriented as she looks to her future. While these organizations helped Reumina better herself, they also encouraged her to begin giving back. She became involved in Special Olympics, helping with a bowling tournament. As she has able to assist the participants, and award them for their accomplishments, Reumina felt a sense of accomplishment herself, because of the simple act of serving the community. Reumina’s persistence and drive have led her to be named a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Ally Flaucher is a Gold Honor Roll student who is involved with softball, volleyball, and basketball, and has been a member of the Conference Champion softball team for three years. Despite her busy schedule and academic achievements, she has been an exceptional volunteer with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. Her goal of becoming a Pediatrician is what drives her to serve at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare wherever help is needed. She has volunteered as both an Ambassador and Volunteer Patient Advocate, making sure patients’ visits to the hospital are as relaxed and trouble-free as possible. Her compassion shown to patients at the hospital is one of the many reasons Ally is a Top Teen.
Megan’s passion for volunteering has been expressed through one important outlet: Camp Lookout. As a junior camp counselor, Megan was responsible for leading children’s activities, caring for campers, and serving as a role model and friend. For Megan, a past camper, this was a prime opportunity for her to finally give back. She says that volunteering has helped her learn about kindness and setting good examples, which she has implemented into her life, even through her participation in speech and debate. Megan’s love of serving others makes her a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Olivia is one creative soul! She spends her time acting through drama and plays, playing musical instruments, creating beautiful art, and singing in multiple choirs. Olivia still somehow finds time to be involved in the National Honor Society, through which she helped organize two blood drives, educated her peers through an anti-bullying assembly, and raised money for autism and ADHD awareness. She continued her service by serving as a PAL, a student who mentors an elementary student each weekly. Olivia’s big heart and generosity are what make her a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Lauren has been involved in a multitude of volunteer commitments. Not only did has she assisted youth in tumbling and cheerleading, but she’s put her musical talents to great use, as well. A Christmas caroler, worship band vocalist, as well as a music leader for adult and children’s music, Lauren has been able to make an impact in the community by relaying her passions for music and community service. Lauren’s desire to make a difference makes her a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Although Rachel spends a lot of time participating in athletics and academic clubs, she finds a lot of interest in religious organizations, as well. Rachel volunteers with kindergarteners at Sacred Heart School, assisting with classroom work or helping students. She’s also been active at St. Patrick Parish, where she assisted with vacation bible school, leading youth retreats and events, and serving community meals. She’s gained lessons, and understands now that, although volunteerism is hard work, it brings much more joy and reward. It is this wisdom that makes Rachel a Top Teen.
From playing multiple varsity sports, to participating in band, to being an active member of student council, Caleb has made a commitment to be incredibly involved. He has been involved in Boy Scouts for seven years, where he has committed many hours of volunteer service through his participation as a Senior Patrol Leader of the troop. He commits himself to serving the Cedar Valley, through his involvements at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, and Prairie Lakes Church. Caleb’s service to the community makes him a Top Teen.
Mitch Juhl is an actively contributing 4-H member. As president of the 4-H County Council, Mitch helped to implement and execute county project workshops, Fair and Junior Fun Night, and Club Officer Training. He has assisted in various club service projects, and is also involved with FFA, Robotics, Soccer, Football, and the Marine DEP Program. Mitch is hard working, caring, and considerate, which is what makes him a Mayors’ Top Teen.
Even though Austin is only seventeen years old, he made a commitment to service at the young age of eleven when he began volunteering at a nursing home in La Porte City. He continued to stay involved in La Porte, eventually combining his loves of service and athletics by volunteering as a coach and umpire. Austin continued this by volunteering with the Cedar Valley Youth Soccer Association, as well. Austin’s ability to serve as a role model to youth in the community, manage his time volunteering with his activities and academics, and willingness to try anything once truly makes Austin a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Although Kennedy is involved in cheerleading, choir, and many other extra-curricular activities, but credits volunteerism as a priority in her life. She does her best to help the Cedar Valley community. Magical Mix Kids, an organization that helps special needs kids and their families from the Cedar Valley have fun experiences, is an organization close to Kennedy’s heart. She has had the opportunity to fundraise for the cause, volunteer at events, and help families as they travel. Kennedy’s compassion is what makes her a Top Teen.
As a member of the Community Foundation’s Teen Trust, Jake Kinnetz serves as the only representative of Waterloo East High School. Through his service to this youth philanthropy group, as well as his volunteering through the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, the Battle of Waterloo Wrestling Tournament, Ascension Lutheran Church, and other organizations, Jake has made service a top priority. Jake has also become a member of the National Honor Society, through which he has participated in several volunteer service projects to his community and his school. We are encouraged to give at least twenty hours of volunteer service each year. Jake is truly one of our region’s Top Teens.
For the past ten years, Collin has been an active Boy Scout, holding himself to high standards and developing strong values, one of which has been the value of service. He’s shown his commitment to this value in a multitude of ways, but has had a few standout moments. Through ministry, he was able to volunteer at a homeless shelter for American Indians in Minnesota, and also pack food pouches for malnourished children. Collin has learned quickly that even the littlest things, such as playing piano at church which he does each Sunday, can have a large impact on those around you. This incredible insight allows Collin to be recognized as a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Olivia’s enjoyment of volunteerism began at a young age, and has continued due in large part because of the friendships she made and the joy in brought her. Some of the experiences include her involvement at the Covenant Hospital, where she completed a number of hours as a volunteer surgical hostess throughout her junior year. Last summer, she even had the opportunity to travel to Belize, where she was able to work with closely with children. This volunteer experience inspired her to pursue elementary education as a future career. Olivia’s initiatives to impact those around her make her a Top Teen.
Emily believes that the attitude of one person can leave a lasting impact on the world—she is so right! She commits herself to a life of service now and in the future, because of her desire to leave a positive impact on the community and her peers. She’s proven her commitment by her weekly visits to Covenant to volunteer. She also helps as church meetings and events, always leaving a smile and warm feeling when she leaves. Emily’s loving personality for those around her allow her to be named a Top Teen.
Kara was inspired to pursue a career in education by a guidance counselor, so she understands that one person’s sincerity can make a difference. She keeps this in mind frequently as a volunteer. She’s volunteered at Aspire and the Special Olympics, but her favorite service project has been serving as a 5th grade group leader through her church every Sunday. Through the love and support she’s found from this opportunity, Kara is positive she is pursuing the right career path. Her love of children and goals for the future is what makes Kara both a Top Teen and a Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Alexis is a very active member of the National Honor Society, athletic teams, and other clubs. For the past three years, she has also held the position of student council president, which has helped her to give back. However, her favorite community service projects come in the form of helping an elderly friend with yard work, and cleaning, while also sharing stories and listening to her exciting stories. Alexis has a love of doing things for those who are unable to do them for themselves. Her willingness to lend a helping hand is what makes Alexis a Top Teen.
Kallie Rademacher is a sophomore at West High School and aspires to be a pediatric doctor. She has taken part in many activities to supplement her dream career, beginning with volunteering at Covenant Hospital. She also gives back to her community in various ways, such as participating in a volunteer effort to raise funds for the Cedar Valley Humane Society. She is involved with orchestra, track, and the IB program. Kallie’s hard work and drive is what makes her a Mayors’ Top Teen.
Maricela Real is a shining star among her peers. As a student at Columbus High School, she is a member of a diversity service club, called the Medely Club, a member of the National Honor Society, and is on the volleyball and cross country team. Maricela gives back a majority of her time by volunteering with the Covenant Medical Center. She has a position with the Teen Projects Program, and is seen as a dependable leader in this position. Also involved with volunteering in her church community and school, Maricela is quite deserving of the Top Teen award.
Despite her activities through varsity swim team, drama, and the academic decathlon, Haley still manages to stay involved in the community. She spends most of her volunteering time as a service partner at St. Edwards. She has taught core classes to second graders, served in ministering roles, helped at events such as the fall festival, trivia night, and mom’s banquet, and even assisted with the confirmation retreat. Haley is a great example that commitment to even one organization can have an incredible impact on the volunteer, as well as the organization itself. Her dedication and loyalty makes her a Top Teen.
Emily Samuelson always strives for excellence whenever she is presented with a project to complete. As an active member of 4-H and FFA, Emily has held many leadership positions. She has served on the 4-H County Council, is a member of the FFA district officer team, was a member of the County Fair Board, and was crowned the 2013 Black Hawk County Fair Queen. She participates in the Silver Cord for Volunteerism program within Union High School, as well as participating in choir, school musicals, cross country, and is a member of National Honor Society. Emily is always encouraging of others and never hesitates to get involved, which is what makes her a Mayors’ Top Teen.
Mitchell is truly passionate about anything having to do with music. A member of his high school band and choir, Mitchell puts his talents to use through service to the community. His involvement at Agnus Dei Ministry allows him to sing throughout the Lenten season. Mitchell’s experience with nonprofits has inspired him, and allowed him to connect with community members of all ages and backgrounds, something he considers invaluable. Mitchell’s selflessness makes him a Top Teen.
Madeline has been given many opportunities through service projects, such as traveling to both Belize and Jamaica for mission trips. She remains active in her church by volunteering as an audio and tech helper. However, her favorite place to volunteer is the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley. She’s been impressed by the amount of love and laughter that is in those children, and by simply helping them with homework, she knows she’s making an awesome difference in their lives. Her contagious spirit is makes Madeline a Top Teen and Mother Moon Service Scholarship Recipient.
Elizabeth Swanson has a passion for serving others. Her volunteerism has impacted the lives of others at a variety of places. At the Western Home Communities, Elizabeth works with residents of the dementia unit, taking them out for walks or to play games. A major accomplishment of Elizabeth’s has been starting a Bible study group called “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” for her cross country team. She also began donating to the Food Bank at a young age, starting with giving her birthday gifts to those in need. Elizabeth’s generous attitude and ability to be a sincere role model is what makes her a Top Teen.
Bridget Tharp has generously volunteered over 164 hours of her time at the UNI-CUE tutoring center. As a high school student, Bridget volunteers among university students, most of whom are education majors. Bridget’s tutees love her because she is warm, caring, and trustworthy, and always has the tutees’ best interest at heart. Her ability to be an excellent role model to youngsters is what makes her a recipient of the Mayors’ Top Teen Award.
Congratulations to our Mayors’ Top Teen recipients!
Congratulations to our Mayors’ Top Teen recipients!