ELIZABETH — Benedictine Academy’s Campus Ministry Club, Students Helping All Children, was honored recently by the national Jefferson Awards program as the top youth volunteer group in New Jersey for working tirelessly to raise awareness to stop human trafficking.
The group was recognized at a NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Awards dinner and ceremony at the Newark Museum on June 8. Representing the club and on hand to receive awards that evening were Benedictine Academy sophomores Norky Diaz, Heidy Isabel, Samantha Herrejon and Michelle Colonia. The SHAC Club’s work was selected among nineteen categories/honorees and over 1,000 essays during the honoree selection process.
At the ceremony, Sam Beard, the co-founder of the Jefferson Awards, and New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, honored Benedictine Academy and the rest of the awardees for their volunteer public service. Jefferson Awards honorees are individuals and/or groups who do something significant to help change people’s lives for the better.
The Benedictine Academy club, comprised of ten sophomores, joined the United Nations’ “Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking” last fall and enlisted the aid of peers, teachers, and families to get the word out about the horrors of trafficking. It is believed that the most effective way to stop human trafficking is to raise awareness and bring the crime out of the dark and into the public eye.
The club worked with fellow students to paint a banner and develop printed materials to distribute to schools in local communities. They met with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to learn more about the human trafficking issue and to deliver their banner and pledge materials. They reached out to their school’s alumnae on Facebook and student activists at Kean University. In addition they helped spread their message through Skype; by speaking at a dinner of over 100 people; and appearing at a Seton Hall University rally in April.
Benedictine Academy sophomores Norky Diaz, Heidy Isabel, Samantha Herrejon and Michelle Colonia, representing the campus ministry club, Students Helping All Children, were recognized at the NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Awards dinner and ceremony at the Newark Museum earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)
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