Giovanna Boyle, an eighth-grader at Montclair’s Glenfield Middle School, will be presented with an engraved silver medallion to recognize her selection as one of New Jersey’s top two youth volunteers for 2012 in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.
The presentation will be made today, March 26, at an assembly in the Glenfield Middle School auditorium.
Giovanna is being honored for working with her mother and two other adults to create a charitable organization that connects privileged young people in her town with poor kids in Brazil. Giovanna worked with her mother and two other adults to create a charitable organization that connects privileged young people in her town with poor kids in Brazil. After traveling with her mother to Brazil in 2004, Giovanna wanted to do something to improve the lives of the children she had met in two fishing villages. “I made friends with some of the Brazilians and thought how great it would be if all my friends in Montclair could be friends with them, too,” she said. Since it would be difficult for them to actually meet, she proposed setting up pen-pal relationships to exchange letters, drawings and photos.
She and her mother registered 25 children in each village and paired them with 50 kids in Montclair. Over the past seven years, the pen-pals have formed deep friendships and gained an understanding of a different way of life, Giovanna said. Some of the U.S. students have also contributed financially to their pen-pals’ educations. Giovanna travels to Brazil every summer to teach the village children songs, games, dances, arts and crafts and English. At home in Montclair, she raises money for her charity, translates letters, and leads pen-pal workshops. “It’s important that those with abundance share with those who have very little,” said Giovanna. “If kids can do this globally, forming friendships and alliances, understanding and loving rather than fearing, we stand a much better chance of world peace.”
As a State Honoree, Giovanna also will receive $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join more than 100 other top honorees from across the country for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2012 at that time.