Three NJ teens were among 15 from across the country chosen as recipients of the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, which recognize young people for their commitment to social good and volunteer service.
Samantha Vinik of Millburn was selected for her work through iTold4, a project she helped launch that trains teen volunteers to educate youngsters about the risks of noise-induced hearing loss. Samantha, who was born with hearing loss herself, created a curriculum that has been used to educate over 2,300 fourth-grade students in several states.
Zach Certner of Morristown was selected for his service through SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs), a nonprofit he and his brother launched that provides athletic clinics where children living with autism and other disabilities can enjoy playing sports while forming valuable relationships. SNAP has a network of 450 teen mentors who run athletic clinics, while educating 3,500 students through anti-bullying sensitivity trainings.
Paige Alenick of Woodcliff Lake was selected for her contributions through Donate a Toothbrush, a nonprofit she and her sister established to collect and donate toothbrushes to those in need, most in impoverished or developing nations or affected by natural disasters. To date, it has helped more than 106,000 people living in 60 countries.
Now in its eighth year, the program, which comes with a $36,000 award, was founded by philanthropist Helen Diller, through the Helen Diller Family Foundation. Nearly $2 million has been given to 55 teens who have demonstrated leadership and are actively engaged in projects that benefit the Jewish or general community.