- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM:

2 in 20,000

Haley Whitt, 12, of Olney, and Maureen McCarrick, 16, of Myersville, Md., are making a difference, and for doing so they were honored Sunday by former first lady Laura Bush with the 2009 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Maureen and Haley were among the nearly 20,000 youths who applied for the $1,000 awards. “The young people receiving these awards genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others,” Mrs. Bush said at the ceremony, which was held at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.

Maureen, a sophomore at Middletown High School, co-founded Kids Theatre, a 30-plus member troupe that raises money for charities. The troupe has helped a girl with muscular dystrophy get a service dog, and raised money to aid the family of a fallen police officer, among other things.

“The work I have done has allowed me to appreciate what I have, and more importantly, what I have been given,” Maureen said.

Haley, who attends Rosa Parks Middle School, raised more than $6,000 for the Montgomery Hospice Foundation by organizing a 4-mile walk. Haley’s grandmother stayed at the hospice, and Haley organized the Walk 4 Hospice in her memory.

“People who can’t afford it will now have the care they need at the end of their lives because of the money raised,” Haley said. “I loved my grandma very much, and I know she is proud of me.”

Said Mrs. Bush: “Students with this kind of commitment and leadership are essential to the future of our nation.”

2009 job fair

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican who said he is concerned about job loss in Northern Virginia, is hosting a job fair Thursday at the Loudoun County Public Schools Board Office, 2100 Education Court, in Ashburn. To date, 60 government agencies, as well as a number of private employers, will be represented. Jobs range from secretarial support to Foreign Service officers.

“I understand that many folks are feeling the brunt of the recession and some in our area have lost their jobs,” Mr. Wolf said. “To help, I will be sponsoring a job fair to bring together 10th District residents and potential employers.”