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Wilson graduate receives Youth of the Year Award from Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading

Maddy Fratis didn’t waste any time.

When she discovered the Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading back in 2020, she applied to be on the group’s youth advisory board. And once she earned that position, she got to work immediately.

And she never looked back.

“I didn’t get involved with the Volunteer Corps as young as some people,” she said. “But when I did, I was thrown into the deep end, or I jumped into the deep end.”

Fratis was instantly enthralled by the organization, which provides local teens an opportunity to identify problems they deem important and take action to address them.

For Fratis, the issue on her mind at that time was racism. Her entry in the Youth Corps coincided with the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota.

Through the Youth Corps’ Community Conversations for Change initiative, she started a project called “Stand Together Against Racism.” She has also headed up a summer story time program for preschoolers and has hosted a podcast called “The Powerful Youth Perspective,” which aims to bridge the gap between  people and unify them with different perspectives on various issues.

In her first year with the Volunteer Corps, Maddy compiled a total of 129 hours of service to the community. This past year, she upped the ante by amassing 175.

She has sorted food at a local food bank, volunteered at homeless shelters, created menstrual kits for underserved women, volunteered with local environmental organizations and planted trees.

Maddy Fratis, winner of the Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading's Youth of the Year Award. (Courtesy of Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading)
Maddy Fratis is the winner of the Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading’s Youth of the Year Award. (Courtesy of Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading)

Her tireless efforts didn’t go unrecognized, as the Volunteer Corps has named her the winner of the organization’s inaugural Youth of the year Award.

“I have had the privilege of working with Maddy for over two years on these impactful community projects,” Volunteer Corps program director Lindsay Sites said in a statement announcing the award. “She is truly an exceptional young woman with a passion to help others and speak up for those whose voice is silent. I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in her next chapter.”

Maddy, a 2022 Wilson High School graduate who is now in her first year at Elizabethtown College, learned she had won the award at an awards banquet this month.

She said she was shocked to hear her named called, and honored by the recognition of her hard work.

“It was just a really full-circle moment for me,” she said. “I’m supporting the community, and now the community is supporting me.”

When Maddy speaks of the work she has done through the Volunteer Corps she doesn’t talk about it like work. For her, the opportunity to give back to her community has been a privilege she’s thrilled to take advantage of.

“There are so many different ways the Volunteer Corps helps students serve in the community,” the 18-year-old from Spring Township said. “There’s nothing else like it. A program like this doesn’t exist in school or in my church or in sports.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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