FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Florida Holocaust Museum Recognizes the Humanitarian Actions of Students that Make the World a Better Place
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The FHM Honors Exceptional Teens with Anne Frank Humanitarian Award
May 24, 2018 [St. Petersburg, FL] -- The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) recently honored the humanitarian efforts of ninety-two exceptional students with its annual Anne Frank Humanitarian Award (AFHA) program, held May 15th and 16th at the Museum.
The AFHA program recognizes those humanitarian actions that better the lives of others. By "doing the right thing," recipients hold true to the spirit of Anne Frank who, in the face of hardships, endured and did not abandon her ideals. The AFHA program was created seventeen years ago to focus attention on the positive actions of today's teens. This year's program featured former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and retired Co-Anchor of WFLA News Channel 8 and AFHA Honorary Chair Gayle Sierens.
"The Florida Holocaust Museum's Anne Frank Humanitarian Award honorees embody the ideals and principles of the museum through their altruism, community service, and their choice to make the world a better place. Each year their courage and kindness warm our hearts and remind us of how wonderful this world is, and can be," said Irene Weiss, founder of the AFHA program.
The award, established in 2001, is presented to one Junior in each of the public and private high schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The honorees are nominated by their principals, guidance counselors, or teachers. These students are recognized both at their schools as well as at the Museum. Legislators, educators, family and friends were invited to join the Museum in honoring these students at the receptions. In addition, The AFHA recipients each receive a Family Membership to The Florida Holocaust Museum and two guest passes.
"We are incredibly proud of the ninety-two humanitarians we had the privilege of honoring during the 2017-2018 school year. Their accomplishments are impressive, but that is not what makes our Anne Frank Humanitarian Award honorees stand out among their peers. It's their desire to make a difference and their ability to take action and make a positive impact in their communities and beyond," said Traci Klein, AFHA Committee Chair.
Some of the 2018 Anne Frank Humanitarian Award Honorees:
Karina Wilson, Tampa Catholic High School
Inspired by a religion class, Karina co-founded the non-profit organization Bags of Hope, which provides toiletries and supplies to the homeless all over the Tampa Bay area. These bags also hold a vital next step: the phone numbers of outreach programs. Contact information is included for recipients to find safe places to receive a warm meal and shelter, or to locate a crisis center that could save a life. Bags of Hope has been so successful that Karina has been contacted by Blanket Tampa Bay and Meals on Wheels to begin a large partnership. She has also volunteered for the Community Food Pantry, A Kid's Place, Metropolitan Ministries, and Tampa General Hospital. On campus, Karina raised funds in conjunction with the Women's Lacrosse program to benefit Raising Hope of Hillsborough County, she volunteers at the TC Cheerleading Camp, and she works the press box at school sporting events.
Paige Mulford, Cypress Creek Middle High School
Three years ago, Paige became one of the very first members of the Pasco Sheriff's Office Junior Posse and she has now compiled hundreds of volunteer hours with this community program. Paige and her horse Jack are trained members of the Pasco Posse. Paige supports public safety by patrolling and directing parking at large events in the community such as the Pasco County Fair and at various parades, festivals and fundraisers. She has assisted in leading regular training sessions for the horses over obstacle courses, so they learn how to navigate roads and bridges while encountering distractions such as lights and gunfire. This past year Paige was recognized by the program for having the most hours of community service. As Cypress Creek Middle High School just opened this year, Paige is the school's very first Anne Frank Humanitarian Award honoree.
Ashwin Ganesh, East Lake High School
Ashwin is a leader for the Robotics Team at East Lake High School and has aspirations of becoming a software engineer. He is so passionate about the field that he has volunteered at many schools and camps to teach younger students and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the community. Ashwin organized a Robotics Waste Drive to help people properly, and safely, dispose of used electronics and he raised funds for the Sepsis Alliance. For the last year, he has donated his free time to the Toymakers of East Lake by repairing and rebuilding broken bicycles, so they may be donated to children in need.
Zachary Morris, Southeast High School
Zack is the founder of the SIMP Club - the Student Industrial Manufacturing Program - at Southeast High School, which partnered with the 101st Airborne Division to supply its troops with 1,000 wooden toy cars each month. The soldiers each carry a few toys to distribute to children in war torn villages in Afghanistan. At first the goal presented a problem because the $15,000 high-tech machine in the classroom isn't quick enough to meet the monthly car quota, so Zach and his peers built their own machine for $874. SIMP Club members also built a robotic arm to make an automated assembly line. Everything is designed, built and coded by the students and their teacher. Their solution caught the attention of the vice president of Google, Vin Cerf, who is considered one of the fathers of the Internet. He spoke to the students via Skype and was so impressed that he offered to pay the salary for a teacher's assistant to provide more help in the classroom. The goal is to sell this design and equipment to schools or companies and use the profits to fund scholarships for SIMP members.
Emmabella Rudd, Riverview High School
Emmabella has been a Youth Ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for over 10 years, and she conducts presentations about the disease at local schools. In fact, students at her speaking events have suspected they have diabetes from her descriptions of the symptoms, and later had this confirmed by their doctors. Emmabella leads a fundraising team for the foundation every year that includes over 200 members, and she also raises money by auctioning her artwork. To date, Emmabella has raised over $200,000 for Type I research. She has become an advocate for the cause and spent a week in Washington, D.C., meeting with legislators about the importance of diabetes funding. Emmabella is engaged locally as well, serving as an intern for Congressman Vern Buchanan this past summer and meeting with Senators Nelson and Rubio.
About the Florida Holocaust Museum
2017 marked a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrated its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.