The FHM Honors Exceptional Teens with Anne Frank Humanitarian Award
May 31, 2017 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) recently honored the humanitarian efforts of ninety-three exceptional students with its annual Anne Frank Humanitarian Award (AFHA) program, held May 16th and 17th at the Museum.
The AFHA program recognizes those humanitarian actions that better the lives of others. By “doing the right thing,” recipients hold true to the spirit of Anne Frank who, in the face of hardships, endured and did not abandon her ideals. The AFHA program was created sixteen years ago to focus attention on the positive actions of today’s teens. This year’s program featured former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and retired Co-Anchor of WFLA News Channel 8 and AFHA Honorary Chair Gayle Sierens.
“The 2017 Anne Frank Humanitarian Award honorees are part of a historic time for The Florida Holocaust Museum as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. We are proud to honor 93 young people who embrace the mission of The FHM through their commitment to bettering their schools and communities through their kindness, compassion, and altruistic spirits,” said Traci Klein, AFHA Committee Chair.
The award, established in 2001, is presented to one Junior in each of the public and private high schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The honorees are nominated by their principals, guidance counselors, or teachers. These students are recognized both at their schools as well as at the Museum. Legislators, educators, family and friends were invited to join the Museum in honoring these students at the receptions. In addition, The AFHA recipients each receive a Family Membership to The Florida Holocaust Museum and two guest passes.
“These students are living The FHM’s mission by bettering their schools, their communities, and communities across the globe through their actions. Their benevolence is a reminder of Anne Frank’s words, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,’ ” said Elizabeth Gelman, Executive Director of The FHM.
Some of the 2017 Anne Frank Humanitarian Award Honorees:
Tony Colton, Sarasota Christian School
Described as a selfless and authentic student, Tony has been diagnosed with cancer on five different occasions since 2011. Throughout this time he has steadfastly focused on the needs of others going through similar situations. A charismatic speaker at 14 years of age, Johns Hopkin’s Children’s Hospital chose Tony to lobby in Washington, D.C., where he met with Senator Bill Nelson and State Representatives David Jolly and Kathy Castor. He has since given over 50 speeches to bring awareness to pediatric cancer research and helped raise thousands of dollars. These funds help pay for the travel expenses of patient’s families so they may remain together during medical treatments. In addition, during the 2015-16 Tampa Bay Lightning season, Tony was honored as the 45th Lightning Community Hero. During a hockey game he was awarded a $50,000 donation and, in turn, he gave the money to the Johns Hopkin’s Children’s Hospital, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and his beloved school, Sarasota Christian. Tony has captivated his doctors, donors and other patients with his devotion to the cause.
Maddie Glas, Howard W. Blake High School
As a leader in the Television and Film Program at Blake High School, Maddie uses her creative talent to tackle important social issues. Maddie’s success in film production has resulted in her winning numerous awards – including 1st place in the state – for her short film, “Sincerely, Me”, which depicts a high school student’s struggle to keep his homelessness a secret. Her other productions have included award-winning Public Service Announcements on drinking and driving, water recycling, and the importance of art education. In addition, Maddie helped produce a nationally recognized news feature on the Tampa Bay Wheelchair Basketball team and their ability to overcome adversity and she produced commercials for the Hillsborough County School District on the importance of Magnet programs.
Chasten Whitfield, Manatee High School
After viewing a Red Cross commercial featuring the victims of a hurricane at the age of six, Chasten promptly emptied her piggy bank to donate to the cause. Upon winning a fishing tournament in 7th grade, she immediately told the announcer that she wanted to donate her winnings to the charity. Now accomplished in boating and fishing, Chasten leads a team of girls who enter fishing tournaments and, if they win, donate the prize money directly back to the charity. This effort has resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to Face Autism. In addition, she has also helped raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and is a partner with the Children’s Dream Fund where she helps fulfill the wishes of kids with physical disabilities or facing life-threatening illnesses by taking them out for a day on the water, and for many it is their very first experience with fishing.
Lindsey Stalter, Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School
Lindsey is a member of the STREAM Club (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math) that conducts projects to serve the wider community. Using donations, the group purchased two 3D printers to create prosthetic hands for children with upper limb mobility as the result of birth defects, injuries, or war. Traditional children’s prosthetics can cost over $40,000 and most insurance companies will not pay for them due to the rate at which children grow. Now Lindsey and the STREAM Club are able to print 3D hands for $50 per hand and provide them to families free of charge. For this work, the club has been nationally recognized and just last month received the 2017 Innovation in Catholic Education “Technology Integration” Award in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, Lindsey volunteers at Florida Hospital, attending to patients and assisting nurses by checking vital signs.
Ritesh Chandrasekaran, Largo High School
After a trip to India as a freshman, Ritesh began to realize and understand the effects of poverty and malnutrition. He decided to become a volunteer and is now making a name for himself as a humanitarian both locally and globally. This school year Ritesh and another student partnered with LIMBS International, an organization that provides prosthetic limbs to developing countries. By selling socks Ritesh and his partner were able to raise the funds to provide a prosthetic limb to a person in a poor nation. For every pair of socks that Ritesh sold, LIMBS also donated a pair to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. In addition, Ritesh volunteers at Suncoast Hospice as part of a team that visits patients who are in end-of-life care.
About the Florida Holocaust Museum
2017 marks a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrates its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.