Yorktown High School Senior to Embark on a Year Long Journey to Help People

The graduating senior will spend her first year after high school helping those in need.

Whiz Kid: Emily Benvenga


Accomplishment: Committing to a year of service with the Christian Appalachian Project.

Key to Awesomeness: Emily Benvenga was looking at the big picture in terms of her life plans when she decided to spend a year volunteering in rural Kentucky this fall.

"I knew that this was a great time to spend a year getting this kind of experience," the 17-year old said. "After college, I will be busy looking for a job, but now I can focus on what I am happiest doing—helping other people."

Benvenga will leave in August to join the Christian Appalachian Project, a Kentucky-based, interdenominational, non-profit Christian organization "committed to serving people in need in Appalachia by providing physical, spiritual and emotional support through a wide variety of programs and services." She said she will be working in a food pantry and a second-hand store, among other jobs within the community.

"The area is poverty-stricken and in some places, there is no electricity or running water," Benvenga said.

After coming across a brochure for the program at , where she attends church, the high school senior thought it would be a great way to fulfill her desire to have a new experience while making a real difference in people’s lives.

Her aspirations to serve follow a trip last year to Spain where she took part in "World Youth Day," an event attended by thousands of young people from around the world—and one where the Pope made an appearance.

"We have so much here in Yorktown," Benvenga added. "It is going to be so interesting and valuable for me to see how others live in Appalachia—many of whom have much simpler lives."

The Yorktown resident, who has three brothers and who also loves to babysit, said she plans to attend Catholic University after completing her year in Kentucky.

"I will get right back on track after this service year," she said. "And I have had so much support in making this happen—from my parents and from my teachers too."

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Dave Ellis June 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Emily, this is a wonderful, thoughtful, unselfish way to serve. It is a reflection of the caring person you've become. You are truly a tribute to your parents and your church. Thoughts and prayers will be with you. ...Dave Ellis
Rose June 04, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Emily, I have never met you but I wanted to commend you on your decision to do this. Your generosity of spirit and faith is proof positive that you are a special young lady. It is so nice to see an article about a teenager that is doing something good. May you lead the way. Stay safe and enjoy your year of service.
Alissa June 05, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Emily, I am going to miss you so much! Good luck with everything, I know you are going to have a great experience there. You'll be in my thoughts! Your best friend, Alissa
Clarice June 05, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Emily, Reading this made me proud of be one of your friends! I'm going to miss you so much but I commend you on doing something so great and special. You're such an amazing person and you really are inspiring. I hope you have an amazing time and good luck! Love, Clarice :)
Adrienne Pirrotta Cusano June 05, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Congratulations Emily! You have done an amazing job with the children in my class over the last few months. They miss you already! The people of Appalachia are very lucky to have you volunteer. Good luck to you and enjoy the experience. Warmest Regards, Adrienne Cusano


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