WESTPORT, Conn. -- Sunrise Rotary of Westport recently named Staples High School senior Hannah Malowitz its March Student of the Month for achievements as a volunteer that read like the menu for Rotary International's motto: Service Above Self.
Malowitz is a four-year member of Staples’ Interact club, Rotary's high school service club, and this year served as its president.
During her four years, she has created a record of accomplishment in programs she called “causes,” as well as charities.
Her charity works include Pops for Polio, for which she and her fellow Interact club members sell lollipops to support the global eradication of polio. Rotary International has been engaged in this effort for 36 years, raising more than $1 billion and enjoying the support of $275 million in challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. New cases today are almost zero.
Malowitz has served meals at Gillespie Center, participated in and organized book, toy and school supply drives for “charities located all over the world.” The one she called “most impactful” was raising money Interact sent to a village in Africa to purchase microscopes for school science classes.
Closer to home, they gathered and donated more than 2,000 pounds of clothing to families in Bridgeport.
Another favorite was Staples’ Teacher Appreciation Week Apple Project. Club members asked students to write short messages for their favorite teachers on apple-shaped StickIt note papers.
"It’s not a charity, but it is a cause. It’s our way of giving something back to to those who teach and inspire us every day,” she said.
During the summer, she mentored and tutored girls at the nonprofit Caroline House in Bridgeport. The reward here was "seeing the excitement of the students as they grew over the program’s three weeks. … It is something I will never forget."
Malowitz said her big takeaway is that "my projects have become a large part of who I am.”
She wowed her teachers with her final Interact project, creating a 5K run the morning of Sunrise’s Great Duck Race on June 13. She said her club has begun seeking the necessary permits and is planning the logistics for an event that should make the Great Duck Race even more of a day of fun in downtown Westport. Proceeds from the race and the raffle will support a wide range of nonprofits in Westport, in the surrounding area and globally.
"Service Above is a motto I have embraced and will always live by," Malowitz said.
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