MILLBURN, NJ - Last year Millburn teens Sammie Haber, Grace Varnish and Taylor Cook hosted the Chariots of Fire walk at Millburn’s Taylor Park, a charity event that raised $25,000 in donations benefitting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This past spring, St. Jude's national fundraising team tapped seven-year St. Jude supporter and Millburn High School student Taylor Cook with a new challenge.
“Let's see what a group of teenagers can do on the national stage. Welcome to the Teen Warrior Project,” St. Jude commented.
Last year’s St. Jude Northern NJ walk raised $120,000. This year’s walk pushed over $200,000 with the Warrior Team leading the charge with $51,000 in donations, the highest team total from any of the tri-state walks, held last month.
“It was such a beautiful day out, and I was so lucky to participate in such an impactful event. Meeting a St. Jude survivor was inspiring. I can't wait to get started for next year" said Maya Hicks.
The Teen Warrior Project was intended to be a one-year project where the St. Jude fundraising team would observe how teens advertise, market and execute an event. Maya Hicks, Shane Sullivan, Carly Dinowitz, Elena Carruthers and Taylor Cook formed a leadership committee that inspired 35 other students to join the team and work on the project.
"This year was a very exciting year for the walk, as we completely blew through all expectations with the amount of money we raised for St. Jude. We are eagerly looking forward to a stellar 2020. We are happy to announce that St. Jude is inviting the Warriors back as a Co-Chair for our 2020 event. said adult Co-Chair Hal Smolanoff.
"We had an amazing push leading into our event," said Taylor Cook. "John, Cindy Corino and their team from Advanced Dentistry of New Providence were huge supporters as well as de Amour Salon, Mia Famiglia, Boxcar and all of our residents in our community. I can't thank my teammates, our sponsors, and our Advisors, Agnes Sym and Rosemary Becchi, enough for supporting the children at St. Jude and our Teen Warrior Project.”
“I am so honored to have participated with this group of teens. They are true leaders and they continue to inspire me,” said Agnes Sym.
Next year the Warriors will be led by year four Teen Warriors; Vikki Amourgianos from Morristown Beard, Millburn Township resident Maya Hicks (Union Catholic), Charlotte O'Hare from Pompton Plains and junior chair Marissa Noble from Millburn High School.
"I’m so proud to be a part of the Teen Warriors, they are an amazing group of kids to get to know and work with,” said Vikki Amourgianos. "We had teens from as far as Princeton, who all came together as a team, worked extremely hard and made a huge impact for the children at St. Jude. It's insane to think about the donations we raised. This was, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!"