The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County (NCJW/Essex) honored four extraordinary Essex county high school students with the Nancy and Robert Eskow NCJW Volunteer Awards. Selected out of an outstanding field of 52 applicants, the recipients of the awards were recognized for their contributions to many different causes ranging from donating and repurposing sports equipment, working with children with disabilities, and helping mothers with premature babies. This is the 12th year the award has been bestowed to deserving high school students.
The 2015 award winners include Isaak Lindenbaum of Nutley High School, Emily Shapiro of James Caldwell High School, Hayley Nagelberg of Golda Och Academy and Katherine Corwin of Mount Saint Dominic Academy. These high school seniors have shown a commitment and dedication to improving lives for others locally and globally.
Because of his passion for sports, Isaak Lindenbaum, a senior at Nutley High School, started SEEK (Sports Equipment Encourage Kids), a program that collects gently used sports equipment and donates the equipment to those children whose families cannot afford it. In addition, he participates in the CHAMP mentoring program at the John H. Walker Middle School and has played a huge role in his mentee’s life by giving him support through difficult life events. “Helping people requires initiative,” says Lindenbaum. “It requires someone who has the drive and willingness to put others before him, but it is not hard. Over the course of my experience helping others I have found this to be true.”
Emily Shapiro, a senior at James Caldwell High School, has dedicated her time to help children in her community. She is the founder of the Northern New Jersey Chapter of Kids Serving Kids, a program that collects used tennis racquets and donates them to children interested in playing the game but whose families do not have the funds. Not only did Shapiro collect the racquets, but she also helped raise funds to fix the donated racquets, using them to teach children at the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton the game of tennis. Shapiro discovered how much she truly enjoyed working with children and says, “I want to dedicate my life to bettering communities around the nation by helping children succeed in the classroom and beyond.”
As someone especially interested in children and animals, Hayley Nagelberg, a senior at Golda Och Academy in West Orange, volunteered at the organization Special Strides, helping to transform the lives of children with disabilities, ranging from spinal cord defects and cancer to autism and ADD, using animal assisted therapy. Her passion for animal therapy allowed her to travel to northern Thailand to become certified in Animal Welfare and Basic Pet First Aid through the Humane Society. Hayley states, “It has given me tremendous joy to help children speak words that might not otherwise have been spoken or take steps that might not otherwise have been taken. I sincerely hope that my future actions will make a difference in our world.”
Katherine Corwin, a senior at Mount Saint Dominic Academy in Caldwell, has been inspired to help mothers of premature babies from the hospital and has created the “Adopt-a-Baby Program” to give mothers the necessary items for basic baby care. The program holds a “baby shower” that she organized in her high school cafeteria and students bring baby items which are then hand-delivered by Corwin to Harlem Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in NY. “Adopt-a-Baby Program” has gone global, with an orphanage in West Africa requesting some of the “baby shower” items. Corwin states, “A leader is someone who, with a quiet confidence, can say that they have changed the world for the greater good. I may only be just one, but I have helped more than a few.”
Winners of the Nancy and Robert Eskow Volunteer Award reflect the mission and values of NCJW/Essex through their commitment and dedication to community service projects and advocacy experienced during their high school careers. In recognition of their exemplary contributions, each received a $500 scholarship and an award certificate from NCJW/Essex.