Kind, generous and caring are words used to describe Joseph Conway of Coventry. Each year the eighteen year old gets everyone into the holiday spirit by creating a huge Christmas light display.
"My light display consists of 33,000 lights. My main reason for putting up the display is seeing the kids smile," states Conway. But, the festivities go beyond those smiles; Conway donates the money he raises to worthy causes like the Tomorrow Fund and Coventry Food Bank. It is that spirit and dedication that has made Conway the eighth Metta Student winner.
Conway's guidance counselor Amy Siemmao nominated him saying, "Joe is the type of young man that you can expect will help others because he truly wants to. His reward is not a grade for a project, or doing community service hours because they are required, it is him making a difference. I have known Joe for about eight years, as both his elementary teacher and now his guidance counselor, he is compassionate, generous, courteous, inclusive, and bright."
Putting a smile on other peoples' faces and helping fellow students are just some of the reasons three Hope High School students took charge and got involved in the Special Olympics Project Unify program. This month the Metta Students Foundation is proud to announce they are awarding, Ariel Matos, Jason Roias, and Aaliyah Parham $1,000 each.
Special Olympics Project UNIFY® says their program is built on the premise that in order to have the greatest impact the change process needs to start with young people. Project UNIFY brings youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through education and sports and related initiatives that provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote the acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students. Roias and Matos coached the school's basketball team while Parham worked with the cheerleaders making Hope High School the first inner city school to participate in Rhode Island.
Caring and spirited are words that aptly describe Eliza DeCubellis of Narragansett. Her decision to create a mission to Glenmary Farm in Lewis County, Kentucky as her senior project earned her the Metta Students Foundation’s $1,000 scholarship.
On the mission, Eliza and her team will rotate through various work sites building and repairing houses for the impoverished, administering food to the needy, and providing services to the elderly and physically and mentally disabled at local health and rehabilitation centers. In addition, Eliza has taken on the task of fundraising for the entire trip so that even those students who cannot afford to go, but would like to help others, can still participate. This involves Eliza raising in excess of $10,000.
The Metta Students Foundation was pleased to honor Eliza as the January 2013 recipient of their grant.
In 2010 doctors diagnosed Kendra Cimaglia, a freshman at Johnston High School, with a malignant brain tumor. Over the course of her two year treatment protocol, she overcame many challenges and despite being sick from her treatments Kendra stayed on track educationally with home tutoring. Even more amazing Kendra wanted to give back to the people who helped her at the Tomorrow Fund.
While at the Tomorrow Fund Kendra came up with an idea to make bracelets out of soda tabs and instead of keeping the profits Kendra has raised more then $8,000 and created Tabz-4-Tomorrow.
Metta means love, compassion, kindness, empathy, and Kendra embodies all of those qualities. Metta Students Foundation is proud to honor her with a grant.
Stephen Carroll of Johnston, RI has lived his life in a wheelchair, born with Cerebral Palsy. His family raised him to be independent and through the years Stephen has overcome many obstacles. He wanted to attend his senior prom, but didn’t have anyone to go with.
When 16 year old Tayler Boardman-Kelly a junior from North Providence, RI heard that Stephen had no one to go with she immediately wanted to be his date. If you ask Tayler she will say her gesture is not a big deal, but this act of metta went viral. When students at Stephen's school found out he was going to prom, they became inspired and spread even more metta. Unbeknownst to Stephen, they created the Stephen Nation Twitter account urging fellow students to nominate Stephen Prom King. Nearly everyone voted for Stephen.
On October 7th the Metta Student Foundation made Tayler and Stephen the first recipients of the Metta Grant.