Two local high school students were honored Monday on National Speak Up For Service Day and were surprised with concert and/or sports tickets.
Plainfield South senior Karis Mele and Romeoville senior Macayla Dwyer were two of 11 students throughout the Chicago area recognized Monday. They were nominated by a teacher as an opportunity to celebrate their selfless efforts in volunteering.
Mele was recognized for her years of service and giving back to the community. She passes out bags to the homeless in Chicago during the holidays and has helped with disaster relief efforts in Tennessee and Oklahoma in recent years. She also plays on the girl’s soccer team.
Dwyer has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children since 2012 and with Harvest Saturday at St. Andrew the Apostle, and she has collected books for needy children. She plays on the Romeoville High School girls soccer team and plans to study civil engineering in college.
The students were presented with a check, which they can in turn donate to help support and bring attention to a local community-based project. They’ll also have the opportunity to take part in a special Chicago-area challenge to rally their schools and community to collect Christmas gifts and write holiday cards for low-income families. The winners of that challenge will then be able to take part in a special meet-and-greet with a well-known celebrity in early December.
This program is run by the nonprofit organization Buddy’s HELPERS, which tries to unite Chicago-area high school student athletes, teachers and coaches in an annual community service campaign built around “Making a difference on and off the field,” according to a news release.
The organization also holds the Pepsi-Co Showdown, the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S. for which this year there are 216 high schools and more than 21,500 student athletes eligible to take part in.