2007 Scholarship Recipients

Rachel Benjamin

–– High School

Rachel’s commitment to her community, and her devotion to assisting those in need, have led her to spread her influence and talents in a number of very diverse directions.

For over four years, Rachel has been an active participant in the Friendship Circle, a program in which teens work one-on-one with special needs children, visiting them weekly and helping them to feel wanted and special.

When a leg injury led to curtailment of her flourishing basketball career, Rachel refused to give in to discouragement. She went into coaching — utilizing her unique combination of talent and know-how to instruct nine and ten-year old girls in the Stamford Young Timers League, the city league in which she had previously starred. In addition to teaching basketball skills, Rachel emphasizes sportsmanship, friendship, and just plain having fun while always giving it your best effort.

Jennifer Greenman

–– High School

“Unique”, “Special”, “Extraordinary”, “Incredible”. These are just some of the adjectives people have used to describe Jennifer Greenman. And certainly, well-deserved they are. Jennifer has utilized her unique talents in a variety of special ways as she immersed herself in community service activities.

Whether as a Teacher’s Aid or Tutor in a 3rd grade class at Roxbury School, a Medical Volunteer at the Marathon, an Assistant Coach and Chaperone working with young athletes participating in the JCC Maccabi World Games, Jennifer has dedicated herself to improving the lives of those in her circle of responsibility.

Perhaps one of her most significant achievements was her single-handed lobbying of the school administration in the City of Stamford, and finally succeeding in convincing them to form a girls’ lacrosse team, with membership comprised of girls from both Stamford and Westhill High Schools. For years to come, young women will be playing lacrosse in Stamford, thanks to Jennifer Greenman.

Jake Manela

Westhill High School

When it comes to volunteering – Jake has just about done it all. Whether it was distributing food and clothing to the homeless, helping flood victims to reclaim their lives and their homes by “babysitting” their children while the families sought to untangle the red tape of their predicament; Jake has “ been there; done that” as the saying goes.

Utilizing his skills as a videographer and filmmaker, Jake devoted countless hours to the founding and operation of the Stamford Youth Film Festival, a forum designed to showcase the creative talents of young filmmakers and to help promote film making programs in schools. He also served as a volunteer videographer at the JCC’s Maccabi Games, held in Stamford, and helped to produce the highlights video.

Jake was chosen by Westhill High School to represent the school at a Youth Leadership Seminar where the emphasis was on leadership, volunteerism, and community involvement.

Sergiy Podolsky

Academy of Information
Technology & Engineering

Over the years, Sergiy has devoted endless hours of selfless time to voluntary community activities. His volunteering search began in the guidance office at AITE while he was a freshman. His desire to help people, and at the same time to meet new people led him to the Friends of the Ferguson Library bookstore. He was struck by the idea that the bookstore raises monies specifically for multiple programs within the library, as well as to be able to make donations to local schools. To date, Sergiy has devoted over 400 hours of his time to that worthy enterprise. Now, as a high school senior, he still volunteers at the library, as a technical assistant, helping customers with a myriad computer problems.

Sergiy also spends countless hours as a volunteer at the Tully Health Center where he assists the nursing staff in performing a variety of chores including preparation of food for patients in the Recovery Room, cleaning rooms, and helping patients with paperwork and phone calls.

Amy Sierpina

–– High School

Community Service has been a consistent part of Amy’s life since elementary school when she joined the Girl Scouts. Volunteering was a key component of the badge work she undertook, and remained a constant in her life ever since.

Amy received the Silver Award, the highest recognition for a Cadette Girl Scout, in recognition for the hours she devoted to volunteer service. This included assistance in the design of a puppet theater for pre and elementary school shows on such issues as bullying and racism. Additionally, Amy has been a faithful volunteer worker on numerous projects at the Greek Orthodox Church and at Westover Elementary School.

She was honored at a ceremony at the Harry Bennett Library where she was presented with an “Outstanding Legendary Youth” award from the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County.

Amy remains a Girl Scout today, even though, as she says “it may not be a cool thing to be”.