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BYS honors compassionate youth
Bainbridge Island teen Bella Crowley has been busy. Over the summer she volunteered at an orphanage in Rabat, Morroco.
This was after she spent much of the year helping spread awareness for eating disorders.
She also is the only teen board member of the Bainbridge Youth Services.
However, she is not the only impressive teen the island can boast.
She was just one of 52 Bainbridge Island teenagers honored last Sunday for their contributions to the community, and beyond, at the annual Compassionate Action Awards Celebration.
The awards are organized by Bainbridge Youth Services and are meant to highlight the compassionate acts teens on the island engage in that might otherwise go unnoticed.
This is the 10th year the organization has recognized the accomplishments of island youth — 52 teens were honored this year alone for their contributions to the community.
“We encourage nominators to look for volunteerism that shows a lot of hours, and something that goes beyond what is expected,” said Julie Marler, a board member of the Bainbridge Youth Services. “It’s inspiring for kids to know what other kids are doing, and whatever you are interested in, you can find something to do (to contribute).”
Honorable activities ranged from offering hundreds of volunteer hours to good causes such as the Boys and Girls Club, or raising money for cancer research.
Teenagers are nominated by adults (other than family members) who have noticed their involvement and great works.
Honorees received a certificate and a special gift of a journal donated at cost to the organization from Eagle Harbor Books.
“The kinds of activities they have done have connected them with people in our community, and we felt it needed to be acknowledged.” Marler said. “It comes from the heart and it’s things kids do because they are passionate about it.”
Part of what Crowley was honored for was an educational video she made for the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week – an issue close to her heart and stems from her own struggles.
The video was played at Bainbridge High School and featured Dr. Jillian Worth, a local physician who offered educated answers to help spread awareness of eating disorders. Marler said she made the video for the purpose of it being showed to students.
“I sat down with her and asked her questions about eating disorders and trying to ask them in a way that would lead to her areas of expertise, or things that I wouldn’t be able to articulate and she would be able to fill in,” Crowley said. “I got in touch with the vice principal (of BHS). One of the things she allowed me to do is get on the listserv email so I could send out the link to the Youtube video to all the teachers.”
In addition, Crowley has rallied other support for the cause, and plans to lobby the State Legislature in support of insurance converge for eating disorders.
“She is on fire,” Marler said. “She won’t brag, but she’s pretty impressive.”
Bainbridge Youth Services began in 1962, and has since been providing free counseling to youth on the island. They also help teens find jobs and exercise leadership skills.
For more information about Bainbridge Youth Services, visit www.bainbridgeyouthservices.org.