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Holmdel Caring Award from the Monmouth County
May 21, 2018

Girls Giving Green Give Back

Holmdel Caring Award from the Monmouth County

Four Holmdel High School seniors are the recipients of the Caring Award from the Monmouth County Guidance Directors Association for their community service efforts.

According to HHS guidance counselor Daniel DeStefano, “The Caring Award is given to one senior from each high school in Monmouth County in recognition of their commitment to community service throughout high school. It is always a pleasure to attend the ceremony, as each recipient prepares a short video summarizing their work which is shown as their names are called. These young people do amazing work and it is nice to see their efforts duly honored.”

The four seniors – Wallis Toscarelli, Lexi Vervoordt, Julia Hamwi and Gabrielle Cipriano – call themselves “Girls Giving Greens.” The girls built a backyard organic garden and have been donating the harvested produce to Mary’s Place by the Sea, a respite home in Ocean Grove for women living with cancer. They also decided to donate the money from the Caring Award to Mary’s Place.

Wallis explains. “In the spring of our sophomore year, we were driving home when we passed a small produce stand selling local goods. We realized we could be involved in growing too, but instead of selling our crops, we would donate them. We are all avid about volunteer work, and we thought we could take a bigger step: instead of joining a volunteer organization, we could form our own. At first, it was just an idea in a car full of friends, but soon with much planning and dedication, we were able to make it a reality.”

As a Girl Scout, Julia had been familiar with Mary’s Place by the Sea prior to Girls Giving Greens and suggested it to the group as a potential charity. Julia says, “We were fortunate enough to get a tour of the beautiful home that is less than a block away from the beach. We learned that guests can participate in various activities such as yoga, massages, nutritional education classes, and guided meditation while enjoying their stay. We felt humbled knowing that we were making their day a little bit brighter.”

One thing all the ladies agree upon is there is something special about giving back. Wallis offered, “it is a humbling feeling that certainly puts life into perspective. We are all extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to give back. We realize this “after school activity” was much more than a garden: it was about working together to bring some joy into people’s lives.”