Three Essex County Students Win the Annual
Nancy and Robert Eskow NCJW/Essex Volunteer Awards
LIVINGSTON, NJ, June 13, 2018– The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) honored three extraordinary Essex County high school students with the Nancy and Robert Eskow NCJW Volunteer Awards. The recipients of the awards were recognized for their outstanding contributions to many different causes including teaching dance to disabled children and young adults, collecting over 1000 swim caps and goggles for an organization that helps disabled students, and building homes for the homeless. This is the 15th year the award has been bestowed to deserving high school students.
The 2018 award winners include Cianna Winkler of Verona High School, Ryan Martynowicz of Seton Hall Preparatory School, and Sabrina Szalay of James Caldwell High School. These high school seniors have shown a commitment and dedication to improving lives for others locally and globally. This year’s winners of the Nancy and Robert Eskow NCJW Volunteer Awards each received a $500 scholarship and a commemorative certificate.
Cianna Winkler, a senior at Verona High School, is an honor roll student and Girl Scout with a strong passion for helping others. She is actively engaged with her church, including reading to the younger children. Her activities led her to develop a coloring book teaching younger children about life without shoes and to organize a shoe drive for people in Africa. Among her many charitable activities, Winkler successfully co-founded a Sunday Supper program that feeds between 30-40 families in need and has sponsored a coat drive, collecting over 6000 coats for the Human Needs Food Panty in Montclair, NJ. Her involvement teaching dance to disabled children and young adults on a volunteer basis is leading her to pursue a career in Special Education.
Ryan Martynowicz from Florham Park, a senior at Seton Hall Preparatory School believes, “If people find a connection to a cause they will be more committed to giving back.” This has led him to several opportunities to give back to his community. His love for swim sparked an interest in starting a swim goggle drive for disabled children where he collected over 1000 swim caps and goggles to benefit Holy Childhood in Rochester, NY, which helps intellectually and developmentally disabled students. Additionally, Martynowicz brought awareness to his fellow classmates about organ donation due to a close family friend’s health situation, and he organized an annual lecture devoted to concussion awareness after he suffered a concussion from swimming.
Sabrina Szalay, a senior at James Caldwell High School, took her own struggles and turned them into a way to help others. Sabrina had a life changing experience after her father lost his job, forcing her family to downsize and rely on food stamps to survive. She believed that this struggle impacted her life and opened her eyes to what’s going on around her in her own community. This led her to joining Habitat for Humanity where she volunteered and worked to open a chapter at her school. Additionally, Szalay volunteered at the St. John Soup Kitchen in Newark, helping to serve meals to the homeless. “I believe no one should have to live life homeless and hungry,” she said, “and I devote my time to helping those let fortunate, hoping to make a change in their lives.”
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.