Eastside High senior gives her time freely

Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 11:19 p.m.
Eastside High School senior Amanda McKenzie has more volunteer hours under her belt than most high schoolers could dream of, and according to Dayle Peabody, faculty adviser for the Eastside High School Key Club, McKenzie is more than deserving of recognition for her efforts.
"Amanda McKenzie is making significant contributions in service to our community during her time in high school. Through her leadership abilities as President of Key Club at Eastside High School, Amanda is making a difference in the lives of students and residents of Gainesville," Peabody wrote in his letter nominating McKenzie for The Gainesville Sun's 42nd Annual Community Service Award.
McKenzie has received the Gold Award for Community Service for the past three years from President Bush for accumulating at least 250 hours of service each year.
In addition to serving meals at the St. Francis House and Ronald McDonald House, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, caring for the sick as a volunteer at Shands at AGH during the summers and volunteering with the after-school program at Williams Elementary School, McKenzie has also organized a "Friends Across the Ages Program" for the residents of Park Meadows Health and Rehabilitation Center in Gainesville.
"She has been a faithful friend of the residents through bingo games and socialization activities for two years," Peabody wrote. "She was the driving force for a 'Fall Fashion Show' in the fall semester to brighten the day of residents."
Peabody wrote that the fashion show - which was conceived and executed by McKenzie - was a hit with residents.
"This was a significant event that impacted about 50 residents on that particular day . . . I believe the residents will have a lasting memory of how these teenagers shared their afternoon with them," he wrote.
The Community Service Award is based on the service of the nominees as outlined in the letters and not on the letters themselves. A panel of judges independent of The Sun will select the winner.
The winner will be honored, along with others, at the Work of Heart Awards dinner on Tuesday, April 19, at the University of Florida Reitz Union Rion Ballroom. The events begin at 6:15 p.m. with a social hour and 7 p.m. for dinner. Contact The Volunteer Center at 378-2552 to purchase tickets, which are $25, or for more information.

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