This week, the Center for Civic engagement would like to shed light upon the Allison Kim Levy Continuing Acts of Kindness Endowed Memorial Award at Hofstra University. The Acts of Kindness Award is made possible by donations from the family and friends of Allison Kim Levy, a Hofstra alumna who tragically passed away in 1997. The award aims to honor two select Hofstra students, faculty, or staff each year as a reward for their contribution to good works in the community. Specifically, the award honors those who have been involved in services such as the development of community programs, volunteer service in community programs, and direct service to individuals with special needs within the community.
One of this year’s recipients is CCE Fellow, Taylor, a student in the Psychology Department with an anticipated May 2016 graduation date. Taylor was chosen from a pool of applicants as a result of her Civic Engagement Internship experience with the Manhattan Veterans Affairs Psychotherapy Unit as well as her development of a sect of the national non-profit, Friendship Circle, at Hofstra. Friendship Circle is an organization which pairs volunteers with special-needs peers in their communities for weekly “friendly visits”. The goal is to create a friendship between each volunteer and their differently-abled partner in order to spread awareness of various developmental disabilities within college populations, as well as to fulfill the social needs of young adults with special-needs.
Throughout her time at Hofstra, Taylor has had the pleasure of assisting over 50 families in the Hempstead community by uniquely providing a short break for full-time caregivers. Families with special-needs members often have difficulty running regular errands during the week because of the lack of universally accessible facilities in the area, and are grateful for the opportunity to place their loved ones in a trusted and secure environment with Friendship Circle volunteers on weekends. This organization has helped many special-needs families both in the Hofstra community as well as far beyond its boundaries and is a perfect example of the ripple effects that can be felt when active citizenship is practiced. We look forward to seeing organizations like Friendship Circle flourish in the Hofstra community and hope that the legacy of Allison Kim Levy will continue through her dedicated memorial award.