Michigan City student wins national award for volunteerism

NOW: Michigan City student wins national award for volunteerism

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind.—A Michigan City middle school student was named one of two top youth volunteers in Indiana through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. 

Fourteen-year-old Adrian Huizar struggled with school when he was younger and required some extra help from teachers to achieve the grades he wanted.

“I’m bilingual. I come from a Hispanic family and I have a lot of trouble with my homework and there are a lot of hard things with reading that I need to do, sometimes math,” Huizar said.

As he got older, Huizar went back to the same Queen of All Saints School teachers who had helped him to tutor their younger students.

“After I got to think about how I could help my community that’s when I came up with Homework Help. That’s when kids come after school and stay for 45 minutes and they do their homework,” Huizar said.

Huizar approached his National Junior Honor Society adviser, Kim Gondeck, with the idea to start the program and use NJHS members as tutors.

“He came and he said this is what I’d like to do and I said okay, you have to be responsible. He’s taken on the role of creating the scheduling, he’s had to reach out to teachers to say can you give us a night, and he’s had to work with his peers to have them come in and work on it,” Gondeck said.

Watch the video below to hear what Kim Gondeck has to say about top youth volunteer, Adrian Huizar. (Story continues below video.)

Since 2017, Huizar estimates that over 62 students, tutors and supervisors have been involved with his after school tutoring program.

“It’s amazing how these kids, how it changes them. I’ve seen a big difference in some kids’ grades how we helped them study for their test and all that. It’s amazing,” Huizar said.

Students sign up for one-on-one after school help from their peers four days per week through the program organized and maintained by Huizar.

Huizar found out that he had won the award during the school day and is excited about one of the prizes that comes along with it; a trip to Washington D.C. in May.

In D.C., Huizar will be honored with a medal and a chance at being selected as a top 10 youth volunteer across the entire country. He will also receive $1,000.

“I’m going to save the money for college, that’s what I’m planning to do. I’m going to try not to spend it but if I spend it, I’m going to spend it on tutoring stuff, on homework help try to spend it on them because sometimes they need paper, rulers, different stuff, pencils that they forget sometimes, so we’ll see what I do with it,” Huizar said.

If selected as a top 10 youth volunteer, Huizar will receive an additional $5,000 for himself and another $5,000 to give to an organization of his choice.

Watch the video below to find out what this Indiana top youth volunteer plans on doing next.

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