Mayor honors local youth at annual youth award ceremony

Mayor Benjamin G. Blake and the Milford Youth and Family Services presented the 25th Annual Mayor’s Youth Award on Thursday, May 9, at Milford’s Parsons Complex Auditorium. There were over 330 youths nominated and more than 600 youths and their families attended the ceremony.

Individual awards were presented in three categories: Elementary, middle and high school. For the first time in the history of the award, there was a tie for the group award.

The awards were given to youth who demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the Milford Community.

The 25th Annual Mayor’s Youth Award recipients are as follows:

Elementary School

Mackenzie Powers

Over the past five years, Mackenzie and her family have organized Mackenzie’s Beach Clean Up. Over 100 volunteers gather each year to clean up trash at Silver Sands and Walnut Beach. Mackenzie has created flyers to hang at her school and a Facebook page to encourage residents to participate. Mackenzie is also an avid soccer player and active member of the Girls Scouts.

Middle School

Gabrielle Woodward

As editor for her school’s Newspaper Club, Gabby has embraced the leadership role and works diligently assigning other members their writing assignments as well as editing and laying out the paper. She has been a peer mediator tackling bullying issues and has volunteered her time to help other students struggling in school. She has donated her own clothes to help families in need from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. In the last year, Gabby went through her own collection and donated over 400 books to the American Literacy Center through the Milford Chapter.

High School

George Knoth

In the past year, George traveled to New Orleans to help with the reconstruction of neighborhoods affected by Katrina, helped with Hurricane Sandy recovery in Milford, as well as being a member of the Shovel Brigade after Superstorm Nemo. He spends countless hours at the Connecticut Center for Child Development, played Santa at an elementary school, and continues to lead by example in his Peer Assisted gym class at Law.

Group Category

The Boys & Girls Club of Milford’s Torch Club

The Torch Club has completed several important community service projects this year. After Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the area near the club, members along with the Unilever Corporation organized a drive, collecting beauty products which were donated to families in the community. They also donated 12 cases of sauce to a local fire department for a pasta dinner. A project titled “Baking for Baraj” raised $100 for a boy diagnosed with brain cancer.

Group Category

Unified Sports of Harborside Middle School

Unified Sports is a Special Olympics program that combines athletes with and without intellectual disability on sports teams for training and competition. The purpose of the program is to foster acceptance and understanding individual differences as well as building friendships on and off the athletic field. The students work on basketball drills and travel to New Haven to participate in the Unified Regional Basketball Tournament.