Super Kids

by Chelsea Valcourt | Jan 1, 2024
Super Kids
With so much going on in our lives nowadays, it’s easy to see how volunteerism has fallen by seven percentage points since the end of the pandemic, as reported by AmeriCorps. Yet, more than 60.7 million people of all ages and backgrounds continue to volunteer each year—all with the goal of bringing light to the lives of those who desperately need it. Impressively, these “Super Kids” are self-driven leaders, seeking to bring peace and charity to their communities and beyond. 

 

Chloë Simone Worthy
All Things Are Possible Foundation
Worthy is a 16-year-old student at Burlington County Institute of Technology’s Westampton campus (Westech) with a 4.33 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society, was elected as the 2025 class president and student council representative, and selected by school administrators as a delegate at the Leadership Training Conference at The College of New Jersey. Worthy also plays varsity soccer and is a varsity cheerleader.

Worthy is an avid dancer and studies dance and the performing arts with Faith in Action, Inc. (FIA). With FIA, Worthy was selected to perform at various venues in the United Kingdom and has traveled locally to perform in musical productions, including Hamilton and Once Upon an Island. Upon invitation, Worthy performed for the Burlington County Commissioners Outstanding Women of Burlington County and as a soloist for the New Jersey Federation of Democratic Women for Burlington County.

Each year of her elementary education, she earned the Dr. Keith Lee Ellerbee Peacemaker Award for her efforts to resolve conflict and strengthen relationships among students. At 8-years-old, Worthy pitched a new youth program at All Things Are Possible Foundation.

Now the ‘Club Cool Kids’ (CCK) meet on Friday nights for activities, dinner and fun learning. Since its launch in 2016, CCK continues to be highly successful in consistently bringing out elementary students to explore STEM, make new friends and meet various industry professionals for fun learning.

Worthy has served since 2020 on the Youth Advisory Committee. Today, she is the vice chair of the committee and launched teen programs at the Willingboro Public Library and a Jolly Jubilee Teen Night at the Willingboro Kennedy Center. Each of these initiatives provides free and safe fun for teens to connect. Worthy enjoys participating in community events, including the Willingboro Community Clean Up, door knocking asking residents to “Rock the Vote,” attending school board and township council meetings, volunteering at The Boro Church, singing on the worship and praise team, and assisting with organizing youth and holiday programs.

Article continues below

advertisement
NJTransit_728x90_6.24


Jess Simon
Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue
18-year-old Simon is one of the extraordinary kids who volunteer at Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue. Her work with the organization involves helping to feed and groom rescue horses and preparing them for Forgotten Angels’ program with veterans. These rescue horses—many of which are former race and show horses—come from abuse situations and kill-pen auctions and need compassionate care. Horses are very therapeutic, but many come to rescue very frightened and children volunteers like Simon—with their kindness, patience, and have learned to help them adjust to their new and safe lives.

Simon was a star cheerleader and her skills have translated into working with the horses, doing groundwork and learning to ride. She will be showing the rescue horses this spring at various local shows to advocate for rescue horses of all breeds. 

Simon, alongside her fellow youth volunteers Abbie and James, has helped at fundraisers—walking mini horses and handing out information about the rescue. In fact, Simon even dresses up as a bunny for the organization’s Easter fundraisers and helps with the group’s Santa with Minis. In addition to her work with Forgotten Angels, Simon saves and trains large breed dogs with her mother. 

 

Isabelle Berger and Anjali Soni
Comfort Kits for Chemo Care
In the height of the pandemic, middle schoolers Berger and Soni set out to raise money to make comfort kits for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Their idea was inspired by their desire to help kids who were isolated during chemotherapy treatment, their shared interest in health care and Soni’s close family friend who was undergoing chemotherapy. Inspired by Berger’s love of dogs, the two began baking dog treats to fund the comfort kits.

Berger and Soni were overwhelmed when their charitable project quickly gained recognition in the community, and this led the two to take this “good deed” to the next level. That was the beginning of Comfort Kits for Chemo Care (CK4CC), now a 501(c)(3) organization. CK4CC raises funds in various ways. Berger focuses on homemade dog treats while Soni works at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Cherry Hill—100% of the sales and earnings fund the kits. The community has been so supportive that they began asking for the homemade treats for the holidays, on special occasions and some have monthly dog treat deliveries. Berger and Soni have also collaborated with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to raise money for a variety of charities.

Now juniors at Cherry Hill High School East, Berger and Soni, continue to devote many hours to raising money for this worthy cause, despite maintaining a very rigorous course load. Soni remembers getting an email from CHOP stating that “the kits were a huge hit” and that inspired them to just keep doing more. In addition to their hard work in the classroom and for CK4CC, Berger is an editor for the Eastside Newspaper and Soni plays for the Cherry Hill East Tennis Team.

 

Pablo Chavez
UrbanPromise
Always there when you need him, Chavez cares about his community. There, the sophomore donates his time in many different ways for his school in the form of: summer employment, volunteering afterschool with children ministries and a plethora of other ways. Over the summer, Chavez was employed through UrbanPromise as a RiverGuide, where he and his peers took approximately 800 participants out on the Cooper River. Through this program, RiverGuides lead community paddles, provide safety briefings, paddling stroke demonstrations, and environmental education about our waterways and the importance of keeping them healthy. When the season was over, Chavez sought other opportunities and participated in tabling events where he spoke about the impact that he and his peers made over the summer. 

During the school year, Chavez donates his time by providing after school care and enrichment activities for students with staff for Camden Forward School. In that program, a nurturing environment is provided as the kids have a safe place to play until they are picked up by their parents. Chavez also donates his time to the Office of Experiential Learning, as he assists them with pre-trip packing and loading before they head off on trips with students.

Built on a holistic framework of care, cultivated by relationship-based, experiential learning, and guided by Christian faith, UrbanPromise proudly stands as a beacon of hope for the families of Camden and Chavez embodies its core values through and through. 

 

Ava Walsh
March for Our Lives & The Alice Paul Institute
Walsh, a junior at Rancocas Valley Regional High, became an advocate for gun reform following the Parkland School Shooting in 2017. She has attended two March for Our Lives protests in Washington D.C., the first one when she was 11-years-old. Determined to impact her community, Walsh created the Burlington County Chapter of March for Our Lives in August of 2022 when she was 15. 

Under her leadership, her chapter has participated in phone banks, rallies and events for the cause. They’ve also sent two care packages to a teacher who was affected by the 2022 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Understanding the impact this type of activism has on one’s mental health, Walsh has hosted a healing circle to give her members a safe space to express their collective sadness from the frequent news of gun violence. She has hosted letter-writing events, urging President Joe Biden’s administration to implement universal background checks and appoint a Director of Gun Violence Prevention. Walsh was proud of her chapter when the White House responded.

“My goal with March for Our Lives Burlington County is to make my community safer,” says Walsh. “I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished so far, but seeing the news tells me that there’s still more work to be done.” 

Walsh swims for the Tarnsfield Torpedoes and the RV Red Devils. She has participated in her school’s theater program, choir, Model UN, and is a proud National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society member. Walsh further develops her skills as an advocate and a leader through her involvement in the Alice Paul Girls Leadership Council, where she discusses issues relating to gender equity and human rights. 


Click here to subscribe to the free digital editions of South Jersey Magazine

To read the digital edition of South Jersey Magazine, click here.
Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 20, Issue 9 (December 2023)

For more info on South Jersey Magazineclick here.
To subscribe to South Jersey Magazine
click here.
To advertise in South Jersey Magazineclick here.


Author: Chelsea Valcourt

Archives


A Holistic Approach

South Jersey School Notebook

Take the Ride

The Best is Yet to Come

Call to Action

An Inspiring Performance

Holding All the Cards

Teachable Moment

Power Player

Playing By Her Own Rules

Just Getting Started

A Golden Opportunity

Getting Personal

Birthday Bashes Down the Shore

A Teaching Moment


More Articles