Know a child making a difference in Arizona? Enter 'Caring Kid' contest

AmTrust Bank is a paid advertiser of ABC15

November's big winner is Brianna! She showed her "Caring Kid" spirit by making a lemonade stand and donating all the money to cancer research! She also volunteers to help others in her community! Way to go, Brianna! 

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Know of a caring kid making a difference in our communities?

AmTrust Bank is excited to celebrate Arizona kids who are making a positive impact in their community. 

Tell us about your "Caring Kid" story and they will be entered for a chance to win an AmTrust Bank Kids Account funded with $150!

Winners will be announced on "Sonoran Living Live".

Visit any AmTrust Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, for complete rules.

ABC15 is not affiliated with New York Community Bank in any way.

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See some of our previous winners below!

7-year-old Victoria

Victoria is always a giving and caring child.  Recently, she earned some money for doing additional chores around the house.  She proudly went into the dollar store to spend it on the highlighters she had been saving up for and noticed a homeless man in front of the store. 

I watched as she considered the markers and then moved over to the food section.  She carefully evaluated her choices and chose items that would help the man the most.  She spent all of her money, without prompting, on food items for him, as well as something for his dog to eat. 

Vicky has organized and collected food for her own food drive during the holiday season to donate to the local food bank.  She adopted four children from the angel trees at Christmas time to buy presents for them. 

Vicky always helps at home with her baby sister and mom with medical needs. 

She is polite and respectful in the community, holding doors and offering up her seat to an older person.  She also helps an elderly neighbor with chores the neighbor is unable to do, without incentive or payment. 

She is currently working on making care packages with her mother to  hand out to the homeless.  She has a heart of gold.

For all of these reasons, we are proud to award Vicky with the AmTrust Bank Caring Kid Award for February.   Vicky will receive $150 and a new AmTrust Bank savings account. 


16-year-old Rhiannon

Rhiannon volunteers at the Maricopa Animal Shelter every other weekend. There she cleans up after the animals, exercises them, and counsels people on adopting animals.

She's participating in the Teen Treks program at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the weekends and helps with pet adoption events there, as well. This program teaches kids how to handle and care for animals of all types, which helps Rhiannon work toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

She also worked with the Jr. Drama Club at Westar Elementary School last fall, instructing children in acting and stagecraft.

Additionally, she helps out with the semiannual blood drives at her high school. She can always be counted on to help others in need.

All this while maintaining the highest GPA in her sophomore class!


13-year-old Sydney

Sydney Mooneyham is a thoughtful and caring 13-year-old leader who is always looking for ways to contribute to her community, whether it's leading the efforts to raise money for a neighborhood dog's vet bills, or donating her art work for use on the program cover for a 2011 immigration and naturalization ceremony.

When Sydney found out that a neighbor couldn't afford the vet bills for Penny, a sick dog, Sydney decided to raise "Pennies for Penny" to help with the vet costs. She raised $150.

For her birthday one year, Sydney asked to be taken to "Best Friends Animal Sanctuary," where she and her family donated their time mucking stalls, feeding animals and working on shelter improvements.

Sydney's commitment to public service isn't limited to her immediate neighborhood. She wants to reach out and help others in need no matter where they live!

When Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake, Sydney led a community donation drive for UNICEF by setting up a lemonade stand that raised $1,200. The funds were donated to UNICEF for earthquake victims. 

While on vacation in Mexico, Sydney saw many hungry stray dogs and also lept into action. When she returned to Arizona, she organized a dog food drive for a dog shelter in Mexico that was sorely in need of more food.

Sydney's leadership in public service should be an inspiration to us all, both children and adults!


16-year-old Matthew

Matthew developed the BE Open to New Experiences Program (Be O.N.E.) for the middle school students at his school, Arizona School for the Arts.  Be O.N.E.'s objectives are to reduce physical, verbal, and cyber-bullying, and foster the culture of mutual respect, acceptance, and support needed to create a nurturing learning environment.

Through team building activities in large and small groups, the Be O.N.E. program empowers student to create for themselves a safe and supportive school environment.  The goal of the Be O.N.E. program is simple; enforce the importance of the three Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) while instilling three Ps into education. The three Ps stand for Positive Peer Pressure. The four-hour Be O.N.E program, staffed by student and teacher volunteers, uses the unique concept of Positive Peer Pressure to encourage students to become more “Open to New Experiences,” make new friendships, and support each person’s uniqueness.  To date, over 600 students, and 100 volunteers have participated.

Be O.N.E. was so successful in addressing bullying and intolerance on campus that it is now mandatory for all entering middle school students at ASA.  Looking to the future, Matthew is working to expand the program to other Phoenix schools so he can serve students all across Arizona and bring Be O.N.E. to every middle school classroom.

This experience has taught Matthew that anyone, even a teenager, can make a difference in the world by being open to potential opportunities, ready to take on challenges, and willing to work hard.


11-year-old Kaycee

Kaycee volunteers many hours each week at Lost Our Home Animal Shelter. This shelter is for dogs and cats whose "parents" have lost their homes due to many challenging circumstances. 

Not only does Kaycee help care for the animals, but she is so compassionate with the adults who are faced with the sad chore of surrendering their pets. I overheard her one day telling a gentleman that his dog "was in good hands" and he didn't need to worry at all.

Many of the people come out of Lost Our Home and share with me (I sit outside the shelter to give Kaycee space so that this can be her special time with the animals) that the little girl inside is so far beyond her years and that they are touched by her kindness and care not only for the animals, but for the people. 

She often steps in to help "show and tell" when potential customers come in to adopt and tells all about the animals in hopes that they will go to a good home while she is there volunteering. 

When the first dog got adopted during her volunteer time, she came home with mixed feelings and shared that she was so happy "her baby" found a good home but she felt like she was losing a best friend. 

She has gone to schools with the owner of LOH to share with children the importance of volunteering and giving to the community.


12-year-old Dylan

Dylan has been my neighbor since 2003 and I have watched him develop into a personable and remarkable 12-year-old.  Not only does he love school, he maintains excellent grades and is aspiring to attend college.  Dylan is also an outstanding ice hockey player.

I am a disabled female with an incurable medical condition and no family in Arizona.  Not only do I have difficulty walking, my left arm is useless. 

Since summer school vacation began, Dylan has been volunteering his time to help me.  He did an excellent job cleaning, hosing and weeding my enclosed patio area, he disposes of my trash on a timely basis, he has been helping to clean closets, and even grocery shops with me so that he can carry all the bags.

Dylan has been a blessing to me and I would really like to see his thoughtfulness and volunteer efforts recognized.

 

17-year-old Alexis

Alexis has always been a selfless child.

She is very involved in Special Olympics, and Best Buddies. She was an officer for the club, and is a very active member in it.

In April 2013, she had her junior year prom. She took an amazing date. His name is Grant Miller and he has down syndrome, a mental disability that Alexis is very familiar with due to her work with disabled children.

She asked him in front of everyone at her school, she made a giant poster and brought him balloons and cupcakes. He said yes, and they had an amazing night. She took him to a fancy dinner, and they danced the night away. She said it was one of the best nights of her life, and I personally find it absolutely amazing that she made a little boy's prom the best it could possibly be, because SHE thought it was the best prom night she could possibly have.

Alexis gives back in so many ways, and I think it would be great to see her get something in return. She loves the children she works with, and has changed many of their lives just by being their best friend.

She deserves recognition for the amazing work and service she has done. She's a very caring kid, and I hope she is recognized for it.


11-year-old Sophia

Sophia was taught at a young age to give back.

She has been to Haiti three times to work in an orphanage, even raising $2,400 to build a playground there. She helps deliver food on the holidays, organizes and cleans homeless shelters, and has grown her hair out and donated it two times for cancer. She's now volunteering with TeachForAmerica. 

She just turned 11 last week, and her plans are to go back to Haiti next summer and help her brother build an elderly care center.  She is well deserving of this nomination -- she is amazing!!

 

10-year-old Olivia

My daughter Olivia was only 3 years old when her big sister and best friend died of brain cancer. I can’t imagine that she really remembers much, but I am shocked when she (now 10) gives me details about our Make-A-Wish trip. 

In 2012, I flew back to Florida with my parents to do a 36-hour volunteer weekend at Give the Kids the World Village (GKTW). GKTW works with Wish organizations to provide families with a place to stay, relax, and play while they are on their Florida Make-A-Wish trips.

Olivia was upset that she could not go and volunteer since she was under 12. When we arrived home, Olivia wanted to hear all about our trip. She was most interested in my time spent in the La Ti Da Spa. This is a little spa for kids, where everything is miniature. There is face painting and airbrush tattoos for the boys, and manicures for the girls. I explained to Olivia I had trouble painting nails because they were out of most of the nail polish.

Since our conversation, Olivia has taken it upon herself to start collecting bottles of nail polish. For her 10th birthday all she wanted was nail polish instead of gifts. She collected over 43 bottles in just one night. She really believes that all sick little girls need to experience having their finger nails painted! She is such a great kid and I can’t wait to see how she changes the world!

 

16-year-old Ru-Neisha

Ru'Neisha is a achondroplasic dwarf that has had four brain surgeries and suffers from severe migraines. She has experienced bullying since elementary school. So, in middle school, she decided enough is enough.

She created a small non-bullying club at the school. Once she entered high school, some bullying resumed. She decided to make it her life's mission to find a way to combat bullying, and in 2012 created L.A.B. -- Leaders Against Bullying.

It got off to a slow start because she spent a lot of 2012 in the hospital. She became a Phoenix Children's Hospital MVP (Most Valuable Patient), which re-inspired her to continue her quest to help those being bullied.

She is in the process of trying to get her program placed in Washington School District schools. She also takes time to help those being bullied at her high school, Thunderbird High School. She created a L.A.B. website, Twitter account and Facebook page.

This award would be a great honor for her, as she is an inspiration to everyone around her. She has been nominated for many scholarships in the past, such as a Fulton Homes Stay in School Scholarship. She was also featured in a local Sunnyslope community newspaper. If she won this award, she would be able to promote L.A.B. with the funds to make T-shirts and banners that she has been wanting to do but because of lack of sponsorship, she can't do at this point.

 

16-year-old Shadey

Shadey Escamilla is 16 years old, and since entering middle school up until her current junior year in high school has always been on the honor roll list.  Shadey is absolutely an amazing kid that cares for others and enjoys volunteering her time in two different elderly homes located in Phoenix.

Shadey has volunteered from 2010-2012 at Phoenix Mountain Nursing Home and Ridgecrest Healthcare, building relationships with many ladies. To mention a few; Betty who lived a great life with her husband and their only child. Shadey loved Angelina, Angelina was a comedian and was from New York. She would always complain about her food, but Shadey would take her some Italian food from Olive Garden. Angelina would always say, "Is that for me?" It was a sad day when Shadey heard that she had passed away.  Overall, she served with a giving heart and made amazing friendships that no one can replace.

Shadey has made a positive impact in her community by volunteering her time to the more wise (in age) women that lived in these two nursing homes. It would be such a blessing if she would  win the AmTrust Bank Caring Kid contest.

 

11-year-old Parker 

Parker is an energetic and caring boy who really enjoys helping anyone he perceives to be "in need." Parker truly cares about the welfare of others, whether he knows them or not.

Before going to Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family last fall, Parker collected his gently used toys, stuffed animals, and clothing to give to needy children in Mexico. On Thanksgiving, Parker also helped to serve a Thanksgiving buffet for more than 100 local Rocky Point residents.

When Parker learns of human suffering resulting from natural disasters, it seems that he is compelled to act. Last fall, Parker donated the money that he had been saving to a charity benefiting Hurricane Sandy victims.

After the earthquake in Haiti a few years ago, Parker and his older sister led a community donation drive for UNICEF by setting up a lemonade stand. Parker told his teacher and classmates about his fundraising efforts, and convinced his class to collect change and checks to benefit the earthquake victims. Altogether, Parker and his sister and classmates raised a total of $1,200 for UNICEF's relief efforts for earthquake victims.

Parker and his caring acts of kindness are definitely deserving of a "Caring Kid" Award. If he's contributed so much at such a young age, surely he is destined to make a real, positive difference in his community as he grows older!

 

Carolyn

Carolyn is always volunteering and trying to help out her community.

She has used her talent of ice skating to help blind children skate on the ice, and has also volunteered at a local library, as well as a library in Idaho, while on vacation.

She helps out at Vacation Bible Schools, as well as babysitting at Maggie's Place.

Every year for Jump Rope for Heart, Carolyn organizes a bake sale to raise even more funds for the American Heart Association, a cause very close to her heart. She bakes all the items, puts up signs, and provides all the funds directly to the American Heart Association. She is always looking for new ways to give back to the community.

 

Joe

Joe is a great example of caring every day.  He is active in his school through cross country, baseball, chorus, band, school plays, bell choir, and National Junior Honor Society. 

Joe is responsible for the school recycling program and leads a team of student volunteers that collect the recycled items from classrooms. Joe was the student assigned to mentor the "new student"  last year and that student's parents attribute his fast assimilation into the school directly to Joe. He welcomed the new student, introduced him to all the friends, and incorporated him into the group immediately. 

Joe is also concerned about his community and is a Junior Achievement Young Ambassador. Joe is concerned about animal causes and environmental issues.

 

11-year-old Morgan

Morgan strives to always do good things for others. For her 10th birthday in 2012, she wanted to do something special for her double-digit birthday. In lieu of gifts, she asked her friends to donate for two causes: the canned goods went  to our local food pantry in Gilbert, and the stuffed teddy bears were donated to Chandler Regional Hospital for their bereavement program, which was special to her because she almost died after she was born. 

For her 11th birthday in 2013, she asked her friends to donate canned goods once again. Then last year after her Girl Scout troop donated their time at Clothes Cabin, she was saddened by the need of clothing and possible families who came to shop but went home empty handed. So, she did a clothing drive for Clothes Cabin, donating three vans full of donations. And in 2010 and 2011, Morgan won the Character Counts awards for Citizenship at her school and received her awards at the Town Council meetings.

This year, she is trying to decide what she wants to do for her 12th birthday in November.

Morgan has a great heart, lives and loves life to the fullest. She strives to do the right thing while keeping others' needs in mind. I nominate my daughter Morgan Boston for the AmTrust Bank Caring Kid award because she has made a big impact in her community at such a young age, so selflessly.



12-year-old Megan

Megan has always been a kind and giving child, quick to offer a hand and a kind word. 

On our last family vacation, we visited San Francisco. As we were walking around town, my daughter commented about how sad it was to see so many homeless people.  I explained that sometimes people just run on hard times and need our prayers and help.  One man in particular tugged at her heart.  I think it was because he also had a dog. 

As I went to say something to my daughter, I turned and she was gone.  My heart sank.  I turned around to see her emptying her purse with everything she had and giving it to this gentleman.  With a hug for the dog she was on her way.  Although she only had a few dollars and some loose change (plus a couple pieces of candy) she was so happy to be able to help.  When her birthday came around, she asked family and friends to bring food for dogs and cats instead of presents so she could donate the food to a shelter.

She just started a dress drive at school to help collect prom dresses for girls in need. Megan and her friends have collected several dresses, with a goal of 30. They are hoping this will be an annual event. Megan is a beautiful and caring child inside and out.


If you know a Caring Kid, nominate them here.

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