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AACY Honors CYP Graduating Seniors and Courage Award Recipients

Palm Beach County, FL – February 15, 2011 – As part of it’s February 24th 2011 Hearts and “Soles" Fundraising Event, The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) will be honoring eighteen exemplary dual-role youth participants in the organization’s model program – the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP). All eighteen of the caregiving youths are currently enrolled in The School District of Palm Beach County.

Six of them however, members of the CYP’s seminal class of student caregivers, are graduating in 2011.  All six entered the CYP as eighth-graders in the 2006-07 school year and have remained with the program ever since.  On hand to receive the “Keep Soaring” Eagles Award as pioneers and models for caregiving youth nationwide will be:

  • Michael Galvez ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Boca Raton Community High School )
  • Lynchie Botex ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Boca Raton Community High School )
  • Lashawn Green ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Atlantic Community High School )
  • Alexandria Knapp ( Congress Middle School , Olympic Heights Community High School )
  • Angelica Odom ( Congress Middle School , Boynton Beach Community High School )
  • Vanessa Tolassingom ( Congress Middle School , G-Star School of the Arts)

Included in the awards presentations will be CYP liaisons from Congress Middle School (Principal: Mrs. Kathy Harris and Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Deborah Nix), and Boca Raton Middle School (Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Debrah Klein).  As a testament to the long-term collaborative effort between The Palm Beach County School District and the CYP, all six graduating seniors are former Congress or Boca Raton Community Middle School students, each school having worked closely with the CYP since its inception.

Also, fourteen CYP students will receive an equally important honor, the 2nd Annual CYP “Courage Award”, for serving as ambassadors of the strength, courage and steadfastness embodied by so many caregiving youth.  Along with “Keep Soaring” Eagles Award recipients Galvez and Knapp, the following twelve students will be honored for sharing their stories in a variety of mass media portrayals:

  • Michael Anderson ( Lake Worth Community High School )
  • Kassandra Benjamin ( Okeeheelee Middle School )
  • Jimmy Braat ( Santaluces Community High School )
  • Keith Bryant ( Atlantic Community High School )
  • Kethia Dorceus ( Boynton Beach Community High School )
  • Esther Ernest ( West Boca Community High School )
  • Amanatullah Khan ( Boca Raton Community High School )
  • Ann Marie Lent ( Santaluces Community High School )
  • Lee Ann Lent ( Tradewinds Middle School )
  • Natasha Padilla ( Boca Raton Community High School )
  • Stephanie Padilla ( Boca Raton Community High School )
  • Shayna Wright ( Don Estridge Middle School )

Themed “Hearts and “Soles”, AACY’s 2nd annual fundraising event, seeks to promote awareness of what it must be like to “walk in the shoes” of caregiving youth. Major sponsors include HSBC Bank USA , NA and Robert B. Campbell. The event will include cocktails and dinner, music, live and silent auctions, drawings, video presentations, guest speakers, and the aforementioned awards.  A number of Democrat and Republican elected officials and/or their representatives, will also be participating in the night’s activities.  Their joint presence signals the universality of the challenges facing dual-role youth and the need for bipartisan support to affect change.

Our newest national Board members Ronnette Smith of AK and Dr. Ronda Talley of KY, along with out CYP evaluator Dr. Donna Cohen of USF at Tampa will be among those joining us at our February 24th event.

 Hearts and soles with logo

Hearts and Soles Program Brochure Available Here.


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