Two young Carroll countians were recognized during a statewide Youth Service Awards ceremony in Annapolis for their service and volunteerism.
Makenzie Greenwood, 12, who attends Shiloh Middle School, and Celina Davis, 18, who recently graduated from Francis Scott Key High School, were among 10 individuals and three groups (out of more than 100 applicants) who received awards at the Wednesday ceremony, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
Makenzie is no stranger to winning awards since starting the Little Free Pantry in Hampstead nearly three years ago. Still, this was a big one.
“I was definitely very excited and kind of shocked because I knew only about like 10 people won it,” said Makenzie. “So, I was kind of proud of myself and I was really excited."
“It’s a big deal to be recognized by your governor for the good work that she’s doing. She works hard," Jennifer said.
Makenzie has plans to get more involved in her community with her upcoming workshops with the Carroll County Public Library to help kids get started in community service. The workshops will be held at the North Carroll branch on Sept. 26, the Westminster branch Oct. 10 and the Eldersburg branch Nov. 25. All workshops will require attendees to register.
According to Makenzie, she loves giving to her community because she likes making people happy.
“It’s fun making people happy and giving them food,” she said, “just helping them in general.”
Jennifer supports Makenzie with her community involvement in a variety of way such as providing her transportation, helping her prepare for presentations and workshops, proofreading her writing for applications and encouraging her to practice public speaking. Jennifer and her husband, Rob, both still help Makenzie with the food pantry, as well.
Davis was nominated for the award by Joe Carr, coordinator of secondary social studies and service learning for Carroll County Public Schools, because of the foundation she started when she was in seventh grade, The Sweetpea Foundation.
“She’s been doing fundraisers and collections for kids and the pediatric burn unit at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center,” said Carr. “What I’m looking for is really good examples of service learning. When a student like Celina really puts herself into a leadership position, she’s really done a lot of footwork to register this as a nonprofit and operate it, really, almost as an adult.”
Its aim is to brighten kids’ days during difficult times.
“The foundation was created to help kids that are going through a rough time, whether it be like in the hospital or they just went through a tragedy,” Davis said.
The foundation is personal to Davis because she was burned over her forearms and legs by some hot soup when she was 3 years old.
“I was actually really surprised because when my mom told me that the person at the school system had nominated me, I really didn’t think I would win,” Davis said. “When we got the call, I was really shocked.”
Her mom, Lisa, shared similar feelings.
“My initial reaction was excitement as we did not even think she would win since it was for the entire state of Maryland,” said Lisa, who noted that her daughter was also awarded Student of the Month from the Kiwanis club in Westminster in 2016. 'The foundation is special to me as it provides children with some enjoyment while they are staying the hospital."
Davis plans to continue her work with her foundation as she attends Carroll Community College to study fashion design and fashion merchandising.
Wednesday’s ceremony featured speaker Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford.
“I was honored to meet these incredible youth awardees who have made the future of Maryland brighter by changing Maryland for the better,” Rutherford is quoted as saying in the release. “Thank you to the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism for recognizing the significant influence of civic-minded and selfless youth. Through initiating the Youth Service Awards, we are encouraging a new generation of compassionate, community-minded individuals.”