February Students4Good RecapFeb 27, 2023
By Anvita Ambardekar
February is known as the month of love, where we celebrate and show affection to those we cherish. It's a time when people express their love in different ways, through gifts, quality time, and acts of kindness. In this month of love, we want to highlight two young individuals, Joseph Petraro and Kaitlyn Marsh, who are making a positive impact on the world. Despite their young age, both have shown exceptional dedication to spreading awareness and helping those in need.
Joseph Petraro is a remarkable 9-year-old from East Rockaway, NY. He has been involved in various projects including Joe’s Wells for Humanity, The Nightbirde Foundation, and Be Strong. Joe has been personally affected by Tourette's syndrome, which is a nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, resulting in him being bullied a lot. Despite these challenges, Joe has chosen to use his experiences to help others.
Joe’s favorite project that he has done so far is Joe’s Wells for Humanity, which aims to provide clean drinking water to villages in Nigeria. As a part of this, Joe built a well in Nigeria that saved many lives, because people were sick and dying of unclean water and its related diseases. Inspired by his friend Jane Marczewski, who performed on America's Got Talent and passed away due to breast cancer, Joe donates proceeds from his book signings to the Nightbirde Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to bringing hope and healing to young women with breast cancer. Joe has also written a book about Jane, which he hopes will inspire others to learn about her story and raise awareness about breast cancer. Joe is also a representative for Be Strong, a youth charity that strives to save and improve lives by focusing on social environment safety and acceptance. The organization works towards providing support for mental health issues, suicide prevention, and spreading awareness on where to seek help for those in need
Kaitlyn Marsh is an 18-year-old from Justin, Texas. She is a student at UT Austin, where she is studying business. Kaitlyn has been involved in a variety of leadership positions, including State Class Parliamentarian and Class President, and is currently a Marketing Specialist here at #ICANHELP. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and has been involved in fundraising events for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Texas.
One of Kaitlyn's recent projects was organizing a Mental Wellness Walk to raise funds for NAMI. The event was a huge success, with participants invited to pledge donations based on the number of laps they completed. The walk was promoted through social media, campus announcements, and partnerships with the National Honor Society. Kaitlyn's efforts helped raise millions of dollars in financial donations and volunteer hours, which will go a long way in supporting mental health initiatives in her community.
In addition to her involvement in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) fundraisers, Kaitlyn has also led a unique initiative to promote kindness in her community. The project, called the Kindness Locker, involves a large locker at her school where students can write anonymous notes of kindness to each other on sticky notes and post them on the locker. The notes range from simple compliments to words of encouragement and support for students who might be struggling with personal or academic issues. The Kindness Locker has become a popular spot at her school, and Kaitlyn's passion for promoting kindness and mental wellness has made a significant impact in her school and beyond.
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