Williamstown High School seniors Hannah Towers and Alexander Le have been recognized for their volunteerism with the Hoffman DiMuzio Gift of the Heart Community Scholarship.
The $1,000 award, presented last month, was created in 2015 by Hoffman DiMuzio, a law firm with offices in Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem counties. Its Gift of the Heart Community Scholarship Foundation recognizes students who have shown a passion for others throughout their community.
“My partner, Kenneth A. DiMuzio Sr., and I established this foundation because of our mutual goal to encourage students to not only work to the best of their ability in their studies, but also to cultivate a servant’s heart,” said the firm’s Joseph Hoffman Jr.
High schools in the three counties each nominate two students who have shown compassion and dedication to volunteerism.
“Service is so important to me because there are always others that need help,” said Towers. “Life can be very hard, and circumstances vary from person to person. Often, people cannot admit that they need help, and service, in a big way, is being willing to help people you don’t know.”
Towers began volunteering in her youth and has been volunteering for the nonprofit organization, Bee A Blessing, in memory of her grandmother. Since its inception, the nonprofit has raised over $70,000 for organizations such as Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in Bloomington, Indiana, Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia and The Seeing Eye of Morristown.
The nonprofit has also been a part of Towers’ favorite memories during her time as a volunteer.
“One of my best experiences when volunteering was probably at the annual Friends For Life events created by Bee A Blessing,” Towers recalled. “There was a video … for all the attendees showing all the work that Bee A Blessing has done. Volunteering and being a part of this organization has changed my life and shaped who I am today.”
Le also started volunteering early and used his time at Williamstown Middle School as a platform.
“Growing up in Williamstown, I saw so much potential with our school district, sports teams and overall involvement in South Jersey, and I wanted to be a part of this growing ‘fleet,’” Le explained.
“I assisted in collecting various clothing and food items for our local food pantry through the National Junior Honor Society … (and) worked my way through the leadership chain through the Williamstown DECA chapter,” he added, referring to the national nonprofit student organization.
Two years ago, Le assisted the Business Leadership Council, a financial literacy program for elementary schoolers, and managed his own career development project, Reach New Heights Campaign, his most memorable opportunity.
“Through this project, I created a team of 37 DECA chapter members to promote marketing, finance, hospitality and tourism, management and entrepreneurship, as well as 21st century skills to 6,460 plus high-school students and community members,” Le recounted.
“This was one of the greatest experiences of my high-school career. Being a senior in the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult at times, but knowing that I was able to execute such a successful service campaign to prepare students of our community for future career success was fantastic.”
Both Le and Towers plan to continue their volunteerism in college. Towers has been accepted to Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and will study business leadership and environmental science, with a minor in animal studies. She hopes Florida will offer her new volunteer opportunities to achieve her goal of creating a nonprofit that will help animals in need.
“Service is such a big part of my life and who I am, but winning this award is an honor,” she said. “This helps me see that in more ways than one, service has its way of coming back to help you.”
Le has been accepted to Drexel University as part of its five year, three-co-op (integrative work experience) program and will have a double major in finance and business analytics. He was also selected to be a part of the STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars Program for summer of 2022.
Le hopes to participate in the finance and investment group offered at Drexel to help make financial news and investments easier to understand for those unfamiliar with the subject.
“This award has reaffirmed my passion for making a positive difference in my community, and propels me to continue my education, so that I can continue my community involvement in the future,” he said.