LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston Kiwanis Youth Citizen of the Year award recipient Danny Hubert has been volunteering since sixth grade, including being president of the LHS Key Club, where his duties have included spearheading many events, and playing a large role in the Livingston Advisory Committee for Disabilities (LACD) by organizing and volunteering at many of its special events over the years.
During a recognition dinner held last week at Hanover Manor, Hubert, an LHS junior, was presented with a plaque and a $500 award to be donated to the charity of his choice. It didn’t take long for Hubert to select LACD as the recipient, and he presented LACD chair Bob Gebroe with the check.
When he began his community service efforts in sixth grade, Hubert signed up to be a friend at the Friendship Circle, an organization that works to improve the lives of people with special needs. He continues to volunteer weekly at the Friendship Circle’s teen basketball clinics and Torah Circle events.
Hubert credits his family for instilling the importance of helping others in him. His mother, Jennifer, teaches special needs children in town and was a member of the Key Club when she attended LHS; his older brothers, Josh and Zach, are both past presidents of the Key Club; and his father, Jason, has always stressed the value in giving back to the community.
“My family has molded me into the person I am today by serving as excellent role models allowing me to become a strong leader and overall well-developed person,” said Hubert. “They are always there for me with guidance whenever needed and I hope to make them proud every day. My entire family places a high value on volunteer work, whether it is by helping at the LACD, events, my local youth group, at the Friendship Circle, or through animal shelters.”
Hubert said he has truly enjoyed the Key Club events that he has helped to organize over the years, such as the Intergenerational Prom, which he ranks among his favorites.
“The people who attend are always so appreciative and it is an incredible feeling to see the smiles on their face,” he said. “The senior citizens have so much wisdom and experience to share with the students.”
In addition to the joy he gets from watching everyone bond during the evening, Hubert also praises the community involvement—from the township council members who serve the food throughout the event and the many volunteers who spend a great deal of time to ensure that the prom is a fantastic experience every year.
Another highlight for Hubert this year was the LACD’s Shine a Light on Autism event, which brings the community together to raise money and awareness for autism research and support.
At the end of April, Hubert also lent a hand to “Pick It Up! Livingston” and said he was extremely grateful to Mayor Al Anthony for inviting the Key Club to volunteer at such a rewarding event.
“Creating a change in my world by helping pick up trash around town was an incredible experience,” he said. “It felt good to help clean up my town working alongside members of the community.”
In May, Hubert served funnel cake, emceed at the Water Gun Fun booth and took pictures of attendees in the photo booth at Livingston’s Kiwanis Karnival. He is especially fond of ARC Day, when the carnival is open exclusively to the special needs community and the volunteers “help these individuals have an unforgettable experience.”
He also emceed that month for the third annual LACD Talent Show, which he founded with Gebroe to enable special needs students to showcase their talents. The participants beam with excitement while they sing, perform magic, dance, play instruments and more, and their parents glow with pride as their children perform.
Gebroe calls Hubert, who also assists at the LACD Sports Clinic, the most impressive LACD student member he has ever met.
“From the moment I set foot inside Monmouth Court my freshman year for the first LACD Sports Clinic, I knew that LACD was a special organization,” said Hubert. “The honor I've had to serve as a student liaison has been a revolutionary experience for me. I love the opportunity I have each week at the sports clinics to teach a group of bright kids how to play sports, giving me a reason to smile as I see the development of the kids throughout the year.”
Hubert’s role as LHS Key Club president is to encourage other students to devote time to helping others. He said he hopes his service will inspire his peers at LHS to volunteer in the community. He also derives a great deal of gratification from seeing people enjoy all the events that he works on.
Although he is currently undecided, Hubert said he is leaning toward studying business in college. He also said he intends to continue practicing altruism in college and beyond.
“I want to do something where I know I can make a difference in the world,” he said. “One thing I know for sure: I will definitely be volunteering a lot once I get to college, whether it is by joining Circle K (college-level Key Club) or by participating in other individual projects.”