SUMMIT, NJ - Malay Nanavaty and Emily Peterson, two recent graduates from New Providence, are the recipients of the Junior League of Summit's Shirley Wright Keeney Voluntarism Scholarships.

Nanavaty attended the Academy for Allied Health Studies. Since 2015, he has been an active volunteer at the New Providence EMS and was motivated to undertake a 144-hour EMT course, becoming an active member of his local rescue squad following a 2015 externship in India.

There, Nanavaty learned about medicine in a developing nation and had the opportunity to volunteer in an emergency room. He came home inspired and ready to apply those skills to his local community.

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Nanavaty has also been a strong volunteer within the Boy Scout organization. A Boy Scout since 2009, he earned 29 merit badges and numerous awards. His Eagle project was to design, plan and stencil paint a map of the United States on the playgrounds of Salt Brook Elementary School and Allen Roberts Elementary School. This project included 13 scouts and a total of 133 service hours to complete. Even though he has aged out of the boys scouts, he remains active as an assistant scout master. 

Peterson, attended New Providence High School (NPHS) and is the founder of Teens4Refugees, an NPHS club that collects supplies for Operation Refugee Child, which distributes supplies to refugee camps in Greece. Teens4Refugees also tutors local refugees ranging in ages from 4-18.  As a member of this club, she has coordinated and attended these weekly tutoring sessions. In addition, Peterson has been involved with Pathway Cooks and Humanitarian Experiences for Youth.

The Shirley Wight Keeney Voluntarism Scholarships are awarded annually by the Junior League of Summit to local, graduating seniors. The scholarships’ namesake, Shirley Wight Keeney, was a beloved member of the Junior League of Summit and the Summit community. As an active volunteer, Ms. Keeney demonstrated the League’s Mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through effective action and leadership. Her volunteer work began as child when she worked with her mother in the Welfare Branch in the Fortnightly Club helping to deliver food to the ill and those otherwise in need.

During her tenure as the President of the Junior League of Summit from 1953-1955, Keeney led the League as it established the Summit Child Care Center (now the Learning Circle). She served as Executive Secretary for the League for over 25 years and volunteered Thrift Shop up until her passing in 2010.

She was recognized in 1989 by the Summit YWCA as being one of five “outstanding Women of the Community.” In 1998 Congressman Bob Franks presented Ms. Keeney with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition and Appreciation for her outstanding community contributions. the League’s Mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through effective action and leadership.

Her volunteer work began as child when she worked with her mother in the Welfare Branch in the Fortnightly Club helping to deliver food to the ill and those otherwise in need. In her tenure as the President of the Junior League of Summit from 1953-1955, Keeney led the League as it established the Summit Child Care Center (now the Learning Circle). She served as Executive Secretary for the League for over 25 years and volunteered Thrift Shop up until her passing in 2010.

Keeney was recognized in 1989 by the Summit YWCA as being one of five “outstanding Women of the Community.” In 1998 Congressman Bob Franks presented Ms. Keeney with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition and Appreciation for her outstanding community contributions.

“The scholarship awards are one of my favorite parts of the League year," said Michelle DeMuth, 2016-17 Junior League of Summit President. "It is always so amazing to hear what these young men and women have accomplished, and the huge contributions they have made to our community, at such a young age. Mr. Nanavaty and Ms. Peterson are incredibly impressive and truly embody Shirley Wight Keeney’s dedication to community service.”