Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading has recognized recent Wilson High School graduate, Madilyn Fratis, with its first annual Youth of the Year Award.
YVCR engages over 500 Berks County students annually in projects that serve the community. This award is given to one student who has shown exemplary leadership skills, has advanced the mission of YVCR through volunteerism and the development of creative YVCR projects, and has the highest level of volunteer commitment recorded in the program year.
Throughout the past program year, “Maddy” amassed over 175 hours of service to our community through YVCR. She developed innovative YVC projects such as a summer story-time program for preschoolers as well as a podcast entitled “The Powerful Youth Perspective.” The podcast offers different perspectives from which young listeners can learn and bridge the gap between different perspectives, with the ultimate goal of unifying people.
About the podcast, Maddy stated, “We believe fighting for justice begins with listening to one another. The Powerful Youth Perspective fosters this mission, beginning with conversation.”
Maddy has been a standout leader in YVCR throughout her high school career having logged an additional 129 hours in previous program years on community projects that significantly impacted Berks County and its residents.
Projects have ranged from sorting food at the local food bank, volunteering at homeless shelters, creating menstrual kits for underserved women, to helping local environmental organizations, planting trees, and more.
One of the most impactful community roles Maddy has taken on is a co-founder and leader of the youth-initiated project called Stand Together Against Racism (STAR). As part of this endeavor, Maddy launched a STAR peer group at her high school and facilitated conversations about equality and justice for groups of students in Virginia, Kansas, and Canada.
Maddy also served two terms on the Youth Advisory Board of Berks County Community Foundation and Youth Volunteer Corps and one year as the youth representative to the VOiCEup Advisory Board.
“I have had the privilege of working with Maddy for over two years on these impactful community projects.” Said Youth Volunteer Corps Program Director, Lindsay Sites. “She is a truly an exceptional young woman with a passion to help others and speak up for those whose voice is silent. I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in her next chapter.”
This fall, Maddy will be attending Elizabethtown College as a National Stamps Scholar which is a full tuition scholarship program built on the pillars of service, leadership, scholarship, and innovation.
“Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading has fostered all of these skills in my high school years…. YVC provides something no other organization does, in allowing students to create solutions to issues they feel passionate about. In that process, I have gained real world skills, greatly benefitting my future.”
Maddy was given the Youth of the Year award at the annual Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading Awards Ceremony in early August.