Hillary Hughes and the winners of the Nestle Very Best in Youth Award spent a fun filled afternoon at Universal Studios after volunteering at Midnight Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
For 13-year-old Bedford resident Chase Hughes, charitable work is part of his lifestyle.
By SAMANTHA ARROYO, Bedford Journal
Following the motto, “Search inward, look upward, reach outward,” the Hughes family of five has contributed thousands of school materials and hygiene kits to countries all across the world.
Last year, Chase directed a project that collected, packaged and distributed more than 2,000 hygiene kits for earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile.
And on Feb. 8, Chase was recognized for his efforts with a Prudential Spirit of Community Award, honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. He was one of two chosen from the state as top honorees.
“We made kits like toothbrushes and toothpaste and combs and soap to all send down to Haiti and Chile last year,” Chase Hughes said. “So people can have some supplies since their houses were wrecked.”
According to the seventh-grader, his goal was to collect and distribute 500 hygiene kits. But after an enormous response from the community, he was able to package more than 2,000.
“We just want to help others who don’t have as much as we do,” Chase said. “It’s important to help out.”
Though they did not fall victim to an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane, Angela Hughes and her three children have been at the forefront of first response emergency care.
Nearly 10 years ago, the family founded “Color My World: Kids Who Care,” in response to a scarce supply of educational materials in Africa. Soon thereafter, they began assisting relief efforts by providing hygiene kits.
“The kids basically run it,” said Angela Hughes. “They each have different projects that they work on and we give them some direction on how to do it and everything, but we expect them to pack everything.”
In February, when the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program, announced the top 102 youth volunteers for 2011, Chase had made the cut.
“I was just amazed at how we won the service project award and I was just, like, amazed,” Chase Hughes said.
As a state honoree, he will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip on April 30 to Washington, D.C., where he will join the other honorees for several days of national recognition events. Ten of the 102 will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2011 at that time.
“These award recipients have proven that young people across America are critical to the future of our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “Each and every one of these honorees deserves our respect and admiration, and we hope by shining a light on them, they will continue to serve as an example for others.”
The seventh-grader was nominated by the YMCA of Greater Manchester, the project’s greatest contributor. Due to bins set up at local organizations such as the YMCA, Chase was able to collect $17,000 in supplies.
According to Angela Hughes, a complete hygiene kit supplies enough products for a family of four. Therefore, the 2,000 hygiene kits were able to service 8,000 individuals. Each hygiene kit includes two unbreakable combs, four toothbrushes, one tube of toothpaste, two bars of soap and two hand towels.
“Hygiene kits have become very popular,” she said. “People felt really confident donating in these terms.”
In 2006, Hillary Hughes, 16, was recognized as a state honoree and went on to claim national recognition along with 10 other state honorees. These honorees received an additional $5,000 award, gold medallions, crystal trophies, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.
“The Haiti (earthquake) ended up being such a huge disaster, but we were able to take that money from six years ago and apply it to make this project happen,” Angela Hughes said. “So the tsunami project helped the Haiti project.”
Angela Hughes hopes for similar results this time around so they can continue their humanitarian efforts.
“I am always really shocked when our foundation is recognized and blessed because it just continues on what we are doing,” she said. “There are over 22,000 kids that apply for this program (Spirit of Community). So I am just always shocked because the 22,000 kids that apply for this are all doing amazing things.”
According to the executive director of one of the organizations recognizing these students, their level of compassion goes above and beyond.
“The young people recognized by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards demonstrate an enormous capacity for giving and reaching out to those in need,” said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “NASSP is proud to honor these student leaders because they are wonderful examples of the high caliber of young people in our nation’s schools today.”
All volunteer efforts at the Hughes house take place after home-school hours and the family is always enlisting neighborhood kids to package items that seem to seep out of their garage doors.
“We have a garage full of stuff just piled to the ceiling so we would have these kit-put-together parties,” Angela Hughes said with a laugh.
Though it was a bit of a challenge to complete the project during the allotted four-week period, due to the nature of the product, the family is overwhelmed by its success.
Simply put: “It felt good,” Chase said.
Chase said he intends to save the $1,000 for school and to participate in the Boy Scouts providing local charitable services. Though he does not know what to expect during his trip to Washington, D.C. the 13-year-old says he is “pretty excited.”
For information on Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit.
Students Score Big in Online “Mission
By Julie Huss
The students were part of the national Web-based science, math, and technology competition allowing students in grades six through nine to compete for regional and national awards while working to solve problems in their communities.
The Hood team, known as the “Last and Lost” team — Tiffany Ang, Hillary Hughes, Dylan Mahalingam, and Nisha Naik — received an “Application of Science, Math, and Technology” award from the cCYBERMISSION event. The students, under the guidance of team advisor Peter Keeley, were recognized by judges for an investigation into endangered species and for work done to educate children about the problem.
The team surveyed classrooms around the world, including India, Japan, and 36 other countries, and found the majority did not have a complete understanding of the endangered species plight.
Each team member will receive a $2,000 U.S. EE Savings Bond as part of the award. In the past six years, Hood has won $24,000 in savings bonds as part of the cCYBERMISSION competition.
“We congratulate the ‘Last and Lost’ team for their superb research and analysis during this year’s eCYBERMISSION competition,” U.S. Army eCYBERMISSION program manager Mike Doyle said. “These innovative students were selected from thousands of their peers and show the potential that our bright, young Americans have as future leaders in science, math, and technology.”
This year, 6,382 students on 1,763 teams participated in the competition. Now in its sixth year, cCYBERMISSION has awarded more than $4.6 million in saving bonds to students around the country and in U.S. territories. Registration for next year’s competition opens August 1. Visit online for information at www.ecybermission.com.
Local teens awarded for green-up effort
BEDFORD – Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
But after learning about endangered species and global warming, Bedford home- schooler Hillary Hughes can no longer see recyclables in a trash can, litter by a roadside, or lights left on in an empty room without a pang of concern.
A year and a half ago, she and two of her friends, Dylan Mahalingam of Derry and Nisha Naik of Bow, launched an effort to get more of those lights turned off and recyclables recycled.
That project, called Green Your Lives, won the three eighth-graders a trip to Washington, D.C., last month, where they spent a couple of hours with Sens. Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen, and received the Presidentʼs Environmental Youth Award.
Hillaryʼs only regret was that President Obama himself was unavailable at the last minute.
“We got to meet with Lisa Jackson. She was very nice. But I think the president would have been really cool, so I was a little disappointed,” Hillary said.
EPA Administrator and Cabinet-ranking staff member Jackson presented Hillary, Dylan and Nisha with the PEYA award for EPA Region I, which includes all of New England.
They received a plaque, a free hotel stay and a private tour of the Smithsonian. Not to mention the ear of two U.S. senators.
After having breakfast with Sen. Shaheen and visiting her office together, the group spent about two hours with Sen. Gregg, who gave them a tour of the Capitol building.
Hillary said she didnʼt grill the senators on their environmental habits.
“Sen. Gregg asked a lot of questions about our team and our project, and he was very excited to hear about how we were going green with the school, it was fun to talk to him,” Hillary said. “(Sen. Shaheen) was also very supportive of our project. She cares about the schools in New Hampshire.”
The teens started “Green Your Lives” at Derryʼs Hood Middle School, where Dylan is a student.
They decided to increase recycling at the school, with the help of teacher Kristen Yeaton, who submitted the groupʼs materials for consideration for the award. Yeaton, a Bedford resident, accompanied the group to D.C.
KristinYeaton of Bedford, Dylan Mahalingam of Derry, Sen. Judd Gregg, Kathy Gregg, Hillary Hughes of Bedford and Nisha Naik, of Derry, during a trip to Washington, D.C., where Dylan, Hillary and Nisha were recognized for their contributions to greening up New Hampshire.
Green Your Lives created measurable differences in recycling at Hood Middle School, Hillary said.
First, the group surveyed Hood students to find out whether kids were aware that they could recycle at school.
Then they expanded the schoolʼs recycling system, promoted it among the students and conducted a follow-up survey.
Hillary said they sent out hundreds of surveys, with the help of Yeaton and the school staff, and found that students were recycling much more than they used to.
They expanded the effort with the Derry Give and Go program, encouraging other schools and Derry residents to go green.
They also took the message to the Web, at www.greenyourlives.org, where Hillary posted information, photos and even movies, including a video of the friends experimenting together with powering a miniature car with solar and hydro energy.
But much of the time, the three friends worked independently.
Nisha did a lot of the research, and Dylan worked on the science and acted as liaison between the group and Hood Middle School, according to Hughesʼ mother, Angela.
Hillary created the media, including the Web site, the surveys and brochures, and three mini-movies.
“Itʼs been a lot of work, but itʼs been a good experience,” said Hillary. Hillary is used to working hard.
Sheʼs been playing the harp for six years, and the time commitment involved in mastering the instrument was one reason her mother, a former college professor, decided to home-school her three years ago.
They made travel a key piece of their curriculum and found that they loved it, Angela Hughes said.
“Weʼve been to Europe twice this year to study,” Hughes said. “I just think kids learn so much better when they experience things hands-on. If you can see the Parthenon, or the Roman Coliseum, youʼre going to remember that.”
Hillary and her 11-year-old brother are home-schooled, while her two younger siblings go to Peter Woodbury Elementary School.
But trips to Europe aside, it hasnʼt been a vacation, she said.
Home-school starts at the same time every morning – no sleeping in – and includes an hour of harp practice and half an hour of piano practice, Hillary said.
So it was natural for her to take on so much responsibility for Green Your Lives – and it was for a good cause.
Last year, Hillary, Dylan and Nisha worked on a project about endangered species.
That introduction to environmental issues hooked Hillary, who gets a thrill from watching deer, wild turkeys and turtles roam her back yard and the neighboring conservation land.
“I love nature, and we have wild animals here,” Hillary said. “We should try to conserve that land, and different parts of forest and natural life, too. Every year these wild turkeys come by, and they have little chicks and families. The animals are very cool to see.”
Her enthusiasm has inspired the whole family, according to her mother.
“We were not very environmentally friendly before this, but now weʼre composting, weʼre using our green shopping bags,” Angela Hughes said. “We as a family have benefited, because I think we are more environmentally friendly.”
By email@example.com”Wendy Depuy Staff Writer
Published: Friday, Jun. 5, 2009
Hillary Hughes was an award winner with American Girls
2007 Real Girl of the Year Award Winners American Girl
ACTIVITY: Started her own organization to supply the needy with basic supplies and raises awareness about radon contamination
HONORABLE-MENTION AWARD: Nicki Fleming’s Whole World Collection
Hillary is the founder and organizer of “Color My World: Kids Who Care,” a non-profit organization geared at helping those in need around the world. She collects, makes, and distributes hygiene and school kits for families in need. The hygiene kits included toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, soap, and combs for a family of four. Her school kits provide basic classroom necessities.
Hillary’s experience has taught her that one person can make a difference, and the results can be life-defining.
To date, more than $17,500 in kits has been distributed throughout the world. The kits have been distributed to families in southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Africa, as well as to hurricane victims in the U.S. Local shelters and the Boys and Girls Club have benefited from the kits, too.
Hillary has also launched an aggressive environmental campaign to make people aware of the dangers of radon gas in their homes. Radon is the second-most-common cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and can be fatal when combined with smoking. This year, Hillary launched R.A.C.E. (Radon Awareness Campaign for the Environment) and distributed more than 100 DVD presentations to schools in New Hampshire and Maine, informing families and children about the dangers of radon and lung cancer. Hillary has lobbied local and state governments to push for mandatory radon testing in all homes and even contacted the White House on becoming more aggressive with air quality.
Even when she was in Washington D.C. to receive a service award, Hillary found time to volunteer, reading to students at an inner-city school and donating books to their libraries. She has now collected 100 pounds of books for needy readers.
Her example in the community has led thousands of people to join her causes. Hillary’s experience has taught her that one person can make a difference, and the results can be life-defining.
Congratulations to Chase Hughes Kohl’s Kids Who Care® Store & Regional Winners!
Chase received a Kohl’s Kids Who Care® certificate
& received a Kohl’s $50 Gift Card.
In addition, Chase was awarded $1000.00 on the Regional Level because of his efforts collecting hygiene kits.
Kohl’s Cares, the philanthropic platform of Kohl’s Department Stores, is committed to giving back to the communities it serves by supporting kids’ health and education nationwide, women’s health and the fight against breast cancer, and environmental initiatives. Since 2000, Kohl’s has raised more than $231 million for kids health and education initiatives through the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, recognized more than 19,500 outstanding kids through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program and donated more than 2.2 million hours of volunteer time through the Associates in Action volunteer program. For more information on Kohl’s Cares, visit www.Kohls.com/Cares.
AMERICA’S TOP TEN YOUTH VOLUNTEERS
NAMED IN 11th ANNUAL PRUDENTIAL SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY AWARDS
Actor Ted Danson and Olympic Champion Joey Cheek Pay Tribute
to Young Heroes as Part of Four-Day Recognition Events
WASHINGTON, DC – For extraordinary efforts in serving others through volunteerism, ten middle level and high school students from across the country were named America’s top ten youth volunteers for 2006 today in a ceremony here at the International Trade Center, capping the 11th year of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Ranging in age from 11 to 18, the ten National Honorees received personal awards of $5,000, engraved gold medallions, crystal trophies for the schools or organizations that nominated them, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for charities of their choice.
Two of the National Honorees conducted ambitious environmental projects to reduce gasoline consumption and “e-waste.” Two made significant contributions to their communities by building a radio station and creating “barn quilts” to boost tourism. Other National Honorees collected large amounts of money and personal items for the disadvantaged, founded a successful inner-city service organization for young people, installed “emergency dialers” in the homes of senior citizens, and worked to keep lead-tainted toys off of store shelves. And one, a Gulf Coast resident, labored tirelessly to help his neighbors dig out and clean up after Hurricane Katrina, even though he and his family lost almost everything to the storm.
The ceremony was part of a four-day celebration that brought the top two youth volunteers
from each state and the District of Columbia to Washington with their parents to be recognized for their outstanding acts of community service. All 102 were personally congratulated by actor Ted Danson and Olympic speedskating champion Joey Cheek at a gala dinner reception last night at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
The ten National Honorees named today were selected on the basis of personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth. They are:
Evan Alicuben, 17, of Hilo, Hawaii, who spearheaded a project that placed “personal emergency dialers” in the homes of nearly 50 senior citizens in his community, to enable them to call for help quickly and easily in case of emergency.
Ellie Ambrose, 12, of Nashville, Tenn., who organized an annual carnival and a five-kilometer running race called “Ellie’s Run for Africa,” which together have raised more than $40,000 over the past two years for sick and disadvantaged children in Africa.
Hillary Hughes, 11, of Bedford, N.H., who started a nonprofit foundation that has collected more than $11,000 worth of personal-care products and other items to distribute to needy kids in her community, poor families in Chile, tsunami victims in Asia, and hurricane victims on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Geneva Johnson, 17, of the Bronx, N.Y., the founder and executive director of a successful youth-run organization that seeks to build pride and self-esteem among young people in the inner-city through a wide variety of service projects.
Alexander Lin, 12, of Westerly, R.I., who led a student community service group in a multifaceted project to reduce the adverse environmental impact of discarded consumer electronics – or “e-waste” – through recycling, public education and legislation.
Michelle Loke, 13, of Hartland, Wis., who conducted scientific tests to check for lead content in children’s toys and jewelry, and then launched a campaign to remove lead-tainted toys from stores and ban the use of lead in these items.
Ajay Mangal, 18, of Pascagoula, Miss., who lost nearly all of his possessions when Hurricane Katrina flooded his coastal city, yet devoted himself to distributing emergency supplies to other victims immediately after the storm, and helped many families clean out their homes in the following weeks and months.
Kevin Peyton, 18, of Sac City, Iowa, who rallied residents throughout his rural county to help him make colorful wooden “barn quilts” and mount them on historic barns and other buildings, in an effort to boost the local economy by attracting more tourists.
Nicholas Schwaderer, 17, of Superior, Mont., who built and now operates a low-power FM radio station at his school that has become an important source of news and entertainment for a small, mountainous community in western Montana.
Savannah Walters, 13, of Odessa, Fla., who is waging an extensive, multi-state campaign called “Pump ’em Up” to conserve energy resources and reduce pollution by urging drivers to keep their tires property inflated and thereby burn less gasoline.
“These extraordinary young people exemplify the spirit of community that is so important to the future of our neighborhoods, our towns and our nation,” said Arthur Ryan, chairman and CEO of Prudential. “By honoring them, we hope not only to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, but also to inspire others to follow their example.” Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created 11 years ago by Prudential Financial, Inc. to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored more than 70,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.
Applications for the 2006 awards program were submitted last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Volunteer Centers affiliated with the Points of Light Foundation. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were announced in February; each received a $1,000 prize and an engraved silver medallion.
NASSP President David Vodila said: “The young people honored this year with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award exemplify the best America offers to the world. Their actions bring unity and purpose to their communities and across our great nation. Through their leadership, service and compassion, these young people bring us all closer together.”
Also honored on Sunday night were six top youth volunteers from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan who won Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in their countries in recent months. They were congratulated by Ryan and presented with special commemorative trophies.
The national selection committee that chose the ten National Honorees was co-chaired by U.S. Senators Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and by Arthur Ryan of Prudential. Also serving on the committee were actor Richard Dreyfuss; Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth; Robert Goodwin, President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation; Amy B. Cohen, Director of Learn and Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service; Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA; Donald T. Floyd Jr., President and CEO of National 4-H Council; Ken Gladish, National Executive Director of YMCA of the USA; David Vodila of NASSP; and two 2005 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees: Devin Cohen of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., and Lindsey Williams of St. Joseph, MO.
In addition to the organizations above, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are supported by the American Association of School Administrators, the National Middle School Association, the National School Boards Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, the National School Public Relations Association and many other national youth and service organizations. More information about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and this year’s honorees can be found at www.prudential.com/spirit or www.nassp.org/prudential.