Rep. Costello presents Congressional Award to students from Chester and Montgomery Counties
Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) congratulates (from left) Christian Molfetto, a senior at Coventry Christian Schools, Kavi Gandhi, a freshman at Westtown School, and Alyssa Maldonado, a junior at Great Valley High School, for earning The Congressional Award Bronze Medal.
Malvern, PA – Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) presented the Congressional Award Bronze Medal to three local students who volunteered a combined total of 300 hours in the community and achieved goals each of them set for personal development.
During a ceremony at Great Valley High School, Rep. Costello commended each student for taking the initiative to find organizations and projects in need of volunteers and thanked the parents, teachers and advisors who supported the students as they worked on completing the requirements for earning the Congressional Award Bronze Medal.
“Public service and helping our neighbors builds a true sense of community,” Rep. Costello said. “Even during times when our country experiences a toxic political environment, volunteerism and community engagement reminds us that we all share common ideals, including a genuine desire to come together and make the places we live better. By recognizing the accomplishments of each of these students we are congratulating them on a job well-done and hopefully inspiring others to give back to their community and commit to setting and achieving their own goals.”
Each student who received the Congressional Award Bronze Medal completed a minimum of 100 hours of public service. The students also spent at least seven months working toward the goals they had set in the areas of personal development, physical fitness and expedition.
The students and their public service projects are:
Alyssa Maldonado, a Great Valley High School junior, volunteered with the Bridging Urban Mission Project and the Girls Advisory Board to serve her community in a variety of ways.
Maldonado said having the chance to get involved in her community was what sparked her interest in pursuing a Congressional Award. She said the requirement of completing 100 hours of public service may sound daunting but the experience is well worth the effort.
“I think I'm going to look back on this and appreciate the time that I spent on it,” Maldonado said. “Even though in the moment, it may seem like a bit of a burden, it can be a blessing because you have an opportunity to help your community and make a positive impact on those around you.”
Kavi Gandhi, a freshman at Westtown School, volunteered with the ARC of Chester County to provide care for disabled adults and organized charity events for the Yash Gandhi Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for I-Cell Disease, which is a rare hereditary disorder linked to coarse facial features, skeletal abnormalities and mental retardation.
Gandhi said he gained new insights about himself and giving a little extra effort can mean a lot to others in the community.
“I was figuring out more about myself through this process, including what I liked and what I didn't like especially when it came to community service and personal development,” Gandhi said. “It was a great experience where I accomplished a lot of things I never thought I could do. I had done volunteer work in the past, but it was never this much and it never had such a big impact in the community.”
Christian Molfetto, a senior at Coventry Christian Schools in Lower Pottsgrove, Montgomery County, was involved his school’s annual charity auction, traveled to West Virginia for an Appalachian service project, and assisted with an event center expansion project.
Molfetto said that working toward the Congressional Award taught him the importance about time management, especially making time after school and on weekends for his volunteer work.
“It was definitely challenging at times, but it was really rewarding being able to help my community and achieve something that's recognized by Congress,” Molfetto said.
Congress established The Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, service, and achievement in young people age 14 to 23. The program is funded by primarily by charitable contributions. Congress provides in-kind support by authorizing the U.S. Mint to produce the medals provided to recipients as well as allowing the use of office space in the Capitol.
Approximately 48,000 youth participate in the program across the country. To learn more about The Congressional Award or enroll in the program visit http://congressionalaward.org/.