“It is important to give back, both to one’s community and others, because it sets a precedent for others to follow when looking up to you.” states eighteen year old Ashley Szczoczarz. Her deep passion for helping others, especially those with disabilities, makes this Rehoboth teen a perfect fit for the thirty-sixth Metta Student Foundation’s one thousand dollar grant. With this latest winner today, the Metta Students Foundation has awarded thirty-six thousand dollars to students who have done acts of kindness and continue to #sharemetta.
“In my personal and social life, I work to spread the mission of love, kindness, and inclusion by coaching different levels of cheerleading, both 8th grade cheer and challenger cheerleading, and mix the two to teach important acceptance and responsibility roles in the lives of others. Through working at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Somerset, Ma., I teach the essential characteristics of inclusion and kindness by setting an example for students and exemplifying proper language and friendship when playing,” states Szczoczarz.
In addition to all of this, during her sophomore year, Szczoczarz got involved in Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization which works with students who have disabilities.
“Spreading the mission of inclusion is a cause that is very dear to my heart,” states Szczoczarz. “Students with disabilities often have a difficult time displaying their emotions and feelings to others, so it is very important that others convey the message for them.”
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School Science Teacher Diana Hopkins nominated Szczoczarz stating, “Ashley is undoubtedly, one of the most conscientious students I have ever had the opportunity to teach. Beyond the classroom, she is a vivacious leader. Having served her peers in student government since 2013, Ashley has worked tirelessly to coordinate events such as the prom and winter ball, the annual blood drive, and the community-wide spirit week fundraisers. Ashley has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the success of her peers and the enrichment of her community.”
Norm Kelly, founder of Software Quality Associates in Providence, created the Metta Students Foundation in October of 2012 after learning of one teen’s act of kindness towards another teen. “Metta means love and kindness,” states Norm Kelly. “The common denominator with all of our Metta Students is their compassion, unselfishness and dedication to others. Each is unique, but they all want to make the world a better place.” It is for all of these reasons that the Metta Students is proud to award Szczoczarz one thousand dollars.
“It feels absolutely incredible to win a Metta grant because of its importance in allowing me to further my education and spread the mission of love and kindness in the future through new organizations that I will create and manage for those with disabilities,” states Szczoczarz. “With the $1,000 grant, I will further my education at Salve Regina University. I hope to one day open my own nonprofit organization that provides resources and help for families of students with disabilities at the elementary level.”
To see video of how the Metta Students foundation began or for more information about the foundation, log onto www.mettastudents.org