PHS student is runner-up in Cancer Support Community Teen Essay Contest

by June Portnoy

The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia hosted an award ceremony on May 27th at its Gilda’s Club campus in Warminster, recognizing area middle and high school-aged teens for their winning essays expressing their first-hand accounts of how cancer has touched their lives.

Contestants of this third annual “It’s Always Something” Teen Essay Contest, described their feelings about losing a loved one to cancer or living with an immediate family member currently or previously battling cancer. In former years, young people wrote essays about their own experiences of living with cancer.

Justin Kolowajtis of Levittown, an 11th grader at Pennsbury High School, was a runner-up in this contest for his essay entitled, “My Journey With My Mom.”

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Local kids organize art show fundraiser

by Patricia Cangelosi

When young Yardley resident Allison Templeton heard about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a school event in 2011, she decided to do something to help the patients there. And her idea was an out-of-the-box one. Allison created artwork to sell at a small art show, which took place at her home; friends, family members and neighbors supported her thoughtful endeavor, and the inaugural art show raised $750.

“It was really the support and enthusiasm of our friends and family that encouraged us to turn this into a recurring event and to build it into a larger event,” says Lauren Templeton, Allison’s mother.

Each year, 100% of the money raised is donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The fourth annual show took place on May 31st, at the Lower Makefield Township Building in Yardley.

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New Little Free Library caters to kids

by Judi Biederman

It is always interesting to hear about someone who has had a dream and worked hard to mount a project that is benefiting a whole community, but it is extraordinary when that person is just five- years-old. Yet that is true of Julianna Simmers, daughter of Jeff and Samantha Simmers and a young entrepreneur who recently started a new Little Free Library on Melvin Avenue in Morrisville.

Her mom says Julianna got the idea to start her library about a year ago when they visited the original Little Free Library in Morrisville to donate books.

“From that point on, it was all we heard about,” says Samantha, adding, “We honestly thought it would be a fad that would just fade away, but she was very persistent.”

Little Free Library is a grassroots effort to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges. There are more than 25,000 of these community exchanges across the world, all operating under the slogan “Take a book, return a book” and offering gathering places where neighbors may share their favorite literature.

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Casey Schaeffer lends a hand to help others

by June Portnoy

At just 11-years-old, Casey Schaeffer from Yardley, a fifth-grader at Edgewood Elementary School, dreams of starting her own non-profit organization. Casey’s first philanthropic endeavor was organizing a large fundraising event on May 16th to support A Soldier’s Hands, a non-profit organization providing skincare products to troops overseas.

Trish Shallenberger, also from Yardley, established this organization in 2007, and to date it has sent care packages to over 2,500 soldiers.

Each individual package consists of sunscreen, hand cream, lip balm with SPF, candy and handwritten letters from local students and seniors, giving these gifts a personal touch.

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Holocaust survivor speaks to Poquessing Middle School students

by June Portnoy

Reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” is part of the eight grade English curriculum at Poquessing Middle School.

To supplement this reading experience, the school’s eighth grade Learning Support Reading Teacher, Mrs. Melissa Mitnick, arranged an assembly with Holocaust survivor, Ronnie Reutlinger Breslow, who presented a first-hand account of how she escaped Nazi Germany as a child.

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Ari Bortman earns perfect AP score

Ari Bortman, a senior at Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, recently earned the distinction of earning a top score of 5 on his AP Spanish Language and Culture exam, and was one of only 91 students world-wide to earn every point possible on the test, answering all multiple-choice questions correctly and earning full points for the free-response section of the examination.

The College Board, in an announcement letter to the PHS principals, stated, “This outstanding accomplishment is likely a direct reflection of the top quality education being offered at Pennsbury High School. We applaud Ari for his hours of hard work and also his AP teacher for the ability to engage students and enable them to excel in college-level courses.”

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Julian Leveille receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Julian Leveille, a junior at New Hope-Solebury High School, has been honored for his exemplary service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards programs on behalf of President Barack Obama. Julian was nominated for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service as a local firefighter and as an emergency medical technician.

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Interested in saving injured animals from euthanasia?

Lambertville Animal Welfare (LAW) is seeking donations to help with veterinary care for Tesla, a gorgeous Siamese kitten who was found badly injured in March. Tesla is a stunning cream- colored seven-month-old kitten with “flame point” markings and turquoise blue eyes. He was picked up in very bad shape in Hunterdon County by Nate Barson of Animal Control and Investigative Services, with a large gaping wound on the top of his front leg. He had black smudges all over him, along with several other wounds. LAW thinks Tesla was trying to keep warm by curling up inside a car engine, when the car was suddenly turned on. Officer Barson rushed Tesla to Paw Prints Veterinary Hospital in Ringoes, NJ and after much consultation it was decided that Tesla’s injury was too severe and his leg needed to be amputated. Dr. Milford and the staff at Paw Prints cared for Tesla as he recovered from this major surgery, and he is doing quite well learning to walk on three legs.

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Kathy Faustino is Impact Thrift ‘Volunteer of the Year’

Impact Thrift Stores, Inc. recently announced that Kathy Faustino has been named their 2015 “Volunteer of the Year.” Kathy signed on to volunteer in 2013 while she was shopping at Impact Thrift’s Feasterville store. “Impact Thrift quickly became one of my favorite shopping locations once I learned of the mission to support so many local charities,” she said. “The Feasterville super-sized store is immaculate and the treasure hunt within is amazing as new items arrive in the store every day!”

Kathy has logged over 350 hours volunteering at Impact Thrift. Impact Thrift has been able to convert donated goods into more than $2 million in financial support to area charities, thanks to generous neighborhood donors and volunteers.

Kathy uses her pleasant manner, customer service skills and smiling persistence as a volunteer giving back to the community. Her dependable service working with Bric-a-Brac area manager, Barbe Humphries, and with many other volunteers and staff members insures an amazing shopping experience day after day. “The friendly, hard-working employees, wonderful volunteers and delightful customers enrich and brighten my days,” Kathy asserts.

Kathy has lived in Bucks County most of her life and enjoyed working in medical sales before retiring a few years ago. Kathy and husband, Marty, have two grown children and two grandsons. She says, “I look forward to many more years of volunteering and supporting the mission that makes Impact Thrift an amazing organization.”

Impact Thrift welcomes volunteers at five sites in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Visit www.impactthrift.org to get involved, or call Joan Marie at 267-387-0022, ext. 6105.

PHOTO CAP: Volunteer of the Year, Kathy Faustino (right), enjoys working with Feasterville Impact Thrift Bric-a-Brac Manager, Barbe Humphries.

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Levittown girl gets her wish and meets Stallone – twice!

by Jenn Schaffener

Eight-year-old Nicolette Maroney, of Levittown, was determined – determined to meet her idol Sylvester Stallone. Many years ago, Nikki watched the “Rocky” movies and quickly became a super fan. Everything that surrounds Nikki in her life is Rocky – whether it be her attitude about life or her style. She lives and breathes Rocky. Recently, Nikki was more determined than ever to meet Stallone, knowing that he was filming the new Rocky movie, “Creed,” so close to her in Philadelphia.

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