Amidst what seems like a veritable flurry of recent articles lately about socially-disengaged teens buried in their phones, texting, talking and living in a virtual reality—instead of the reality of the world around them—there are a group of young people volunteering, fundraising, and spreading the word about breast cancer awareness. They are Susan G. Komen North Jersey’s Students for the Cure ambassadors, the founding group of a new program aimed at recruiting teens who are committed to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer. The North Jersey Affiliate is the first Susan G. Komen Affiliate in the country to launch such an initiative.
The innovative program, which was officially introduced at the Affiliate’s 9th Annual Race for the Cure on May 1st, mentors and encourages encourage young people between the ages of 12 and 17 to engage in volunteerism and fundraising. The corps of ambassadors (still in formation) will ultimately encompass representatives from each county in the Affiliate’s nine-county service area. At press time, this year’s ambassadors include: Mady Most of Far Hills, (Students for the Cure Junior Chairperson), Franchesca Inay of New Milford, Shira Kalet of Millburn, Emily Chen of Warren, Emily Parker of Basking Ridge, Jiana Ingrassia of Westfield and Hanah Quinones of Springfield.
“It is our hope that through this experience, which involves being both a team leader and part of a team, our Ambassadors will nurture and develop a firmly-rooted commitment to volunteerism in themselves and in their peers,” says Kelly Witkowski, Executive Director of the Komen North Jersey Affiliate. “By recruiting, encouraging and coaching others and setting and reaching goals, these young people will be rewarded with a great sense of achievement and the knowledge that they have made a difference in the lives of others.”
Ambassadors, who serve for a one-year term, support Susan G. Komen North Jersey and the fight against breast cancer, and give back to the communities in which they live throughout the year. Each ambassador is expected to be a Team Captain, recruit team members, and coach their team’s fundraising for the Affiliate’s annual Race for the Cure; utilize creative thinking to invent ways to help raise funds throughout the year; act as Komen North Jersey’s representative at their schools by distributing breast health/breast cancer awareness information and enlisting fellow students to be part of the Students for the Cure corps of volunteers; represent their hometowns and counties at Komen-hosted events; and volunteer throughout the year, especially during October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ambassadors are chosen through an application process and all are encouraged to apply. For more information and an application, contact Tina Jacobs, Director of Community Health, at firstname.lastname@example.org.