Weekly Feature

2008-02-06 / Local News

Amherst Youth Board

Service to Youth Awards

Each year, the Amherst Youth Board honors adults and students who have made positive contributions to the community. These awards are co-sponsored by The Amherst Bee.

Andrea Levine Female Youth Volunteer

Andrea has accumulated hundreds of hours volunteering at her temple in various ways, and she has been a reliable role model to those around her. Most recently, she took on a new role as part of Temple Beth Am's Jewish Leadership Initiative program. This has allowed her to be part of the development and implementation of new and diverse experiences and incorporate her personal values for her community's benefit. She is well-liked and serves as such a fine role model that the teacher she began working with three years ago at her temple has requested her return each year. Andrea spends many hours volunteering her time during the summer, helping to organize and distribute materials and supplies to classrooms.

Andrea spent this summer volunteering at Children's Hospital. Through this experience, she was able to accumulate more than 85 hours of volunteer service. She has also participated on the school dance team for four years, is treasurer of the photo club and is the coordinating secretary of the Community Service Club.

Nathan James Male Youth Volunteer

A senior at Sweet Home High School, Nathan has proved to be a true leader among his peers. He has been characterized as the voice of the Sweet Home High School student body and is totally immersed in all aspects of high school life. He has quickly become his peers' "go-to guy" when an issue arises. Nathan has served as sophomore class president, junior class treasurer and as an All-Class Leadership Council member in ninth, 10th and 11th grades. This year, his peers elected him president of ACLC. While involved in these groups, Nathan has been an integral part of several community initiatives, including food and clothing drives for needy families within the district and Senior Field Day, when emergency services providers demonstrate the perils of driving while intoxicated. Nathan currently serves as an ex-officio student member of the Sweet Home Board of Education, is a member of the National Honor Society and has received the Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award. He has also volunteered at the Friends of Night People and St. Luke's Mission.

Michael McGuire Adult Volunteer


An Amherst council member for the past 16 years and liaison to the Recreation Commission for eight years prior, Michael McGuire has been a liaison to several town departments and boards covering issues throughout the town. Known for his quiet demeanor, he is solid supporter of youth recreation. McGuire was a past coach of the Christ the King School boys basketball team for 35 years and past president of the Amherst Little League. He is also a past president of the Gaelic League, is past vice president of the North Forest Civic Association and was Quad County founder of the Babe Ruth extension.

Sen. Mary Lou Rath Adult Professional

Sen. Mary Lou Rath has the distinction of being the first woman elected to the 61st Senate District of New York State and, as the deputy majority leader for state/federal relations, she is also the first woman to serve in a leadership position in the Senate majority. She has received many awards and honors in recognition of her record of public service, including the Buffalo State College Distinguished Alumni Award, the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership President's Award and induction into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame. Rath has helped provide funding for youth programs throughout the state, county and nation. One of her top priorities is broadening access to quality health care. She also launched New York Wellness Works, a program aimed at providing incentives for work-site wellness opportunities, with the long-term goal of containing the skyrocketing costs of health care. Rath, who also served in the Erie County Legislature, has spent much of her time in Albany focused on local government issues. She said she is most proud of her efforts in the Senate to expand health and wellness programs in communities. She has also sponsored laws moving the state to address childhood obesity problems and to improve nutrition offerings in schools.

Jason Stafford Spirit of Hope Award (posthumous)

The Amherst Youth Board is proud to recognize the inspirational efforts of Jason Stafford through a special "Spirit of Hope" award. Jason was known for his outgoing personality, honesty, dependability and strong work ethic. Despite being born with neurofibromatosis, an incurable genetic disorder that produces skin and bone abnormalities, Jason maintained a positive attitude and friendly nature. He graduated from Amherst High School in 2000 and previously served as an Amherst Youth Board member. He also served as a member of the Amherst Youth Consortium and volunteered with summer day camp programs, presenting asset wellness information to children. Jason was also involved with the Amherst Youth Board's Relay Challenge, participating on a team until he was no longer able to do so. He will always be remembered for his kindness and dedication to assisting others.

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