The Medfield Foundation volunteer awards for 2017 were fortunate to receive eight nominations this year of nine remarkable residents doing important volunteer tasks in town. I will highlight them individually, starting with Annie Phipps.
I personally met Annie last year when we both worked together on Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP). I was impressed by a then MHS junior holding her own and stating her opinions in a room with a teacher, two of her principals, her superintendent, her police chief, and lots of adults.
All of the stalwart 2017 volunteers will be celebrated at the reception at 3PM on March 19 at The Center, at which time they will tell their stories. The public is invited.
Brothers Marketplace is the generous sponsor of the volunteer awards this year, with monies received also from the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.
January 27, 2017
To whom it may concern:
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter in support of Annie Phipps as your choice for Medfield Youth of the Year. I met Annie this year as a student in my AP Spanish class. She was a class leader from the first day of school. She was always willing to put her ideas out to the group and defend her position in class discussions. It was immediately striking to me what a strong presence in the classroom Annie was and continues to be. I mention this quality in Annie because I believe that part of her strong character and leadership that I have observed in our class is directly related to her past experiences as a volunteer.
I did not explicitly know about Annie’s volunteer work until I went to discuss our Global Competency program with another faculty member at Medfield High School. As we were discussing the program, she told me about two of Annie’s numerous volunteer projects. These two -which are the two upon which I will focus in this letter were both intense summer experiences that Annie had during recent years. Furthermore, Annie has clearly brought her sense of service back to the Medfield Community. Her resume of volunteer activities in Medfield is also impressive: Student Council, Pennies for Patients, volunteer at Digital Learning Day, organizer of Medfield Food Cupboard Drive at MHS, and the Powderpuff Girls Football game. In truth, Annie embodies the spirit of volunteerism and exudes empathy and understanding in almost every action of her everyday life.
Annie was first inspired to travel to Kenya by a program that she saw on 60 minutes -Free the Children. She shared information about the program with me, and as I understan d, she raised her own funds so that she could travel to Kenya to help build schools and learn more about a different culture. In Annie’s own words, this experience was “ such an eye-opening experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life.” The premise of “Free the Children” is exactly this idea: by empowering children to help children, we can change the world. Annie took this idea to heart. While it is not possible to be in Kenya every day or even every year, it is my firm belief that Annie has embodied this spirit of helping and giving that was so intense during her time in Kenya. She has carried it over to her life in Medfield. Her spirit of giving continues to grow right here in our Medfield community through her other volunteer activities, as well as in her leadership in the classroom, on the sport fields, and on Student Council at Medfield High School.
The other impactful experience in Annie’s life has been her experience at The Double H Ranch which is a member camp of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, a network of camps that serves seriously ill children and their families. Annie has summarized this experience in her own words, “ I first went to this camp when I was seven with my mom because she volunteered there as a nurse and I was able to attend as an able-bodied nurse’s child. There were a few other kids like me but for the most part, I was surrounded by kids with rare diseases that I never would have been exposed to from Medfield… When I was seventeen, I was able to work at Double H as a counselor in training and then continued to work there this past summer. Camp not only allowed me to branch out of my comfort zone, but also taught me to take advantage of what I have in life.” This experience for Annie, first as a volunteer, and then as a worker, is impressive. She clearly gained life skills from her work and also gave back to the children. She is also able to articulate the importance of volunteer work in way that is mature beyond her years. In a recent article about Mission Trips and whether money or people power was more important, Annie was quoted in our school newspaper, The Kingsbury Chronicle; she said, “I’ve thought about that a lot and, yes, I think money would be helpful in the short term. But in the long term, I believe that it’s more important to educate people and make them more aware of the issues in our world. Just sending money over isn’t as impactful, and actually sending people over there to experience the same problems they are has a much deeper impact.”
Annie’s various volunteer experiences and the way she conducts her life make her the perfect recipient for the Medfield Youth Volunteer of the Year Award in my opinion. I have attempted to describe her as a thoughtful, energetic, and empathetic young woman who is wise beyond her years. Besides standing strong in her conviction of the importance of service work, she models this for her peers and younger students as well. She is admired in many different arenas at Medfield High School.
In short, I highly recommend Annie Phipps for Medfield Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2017. I am delighted to nominate her and believe that she would be the ideal recipient of this honor. Please contact me with further questions.
/s/ Ellen H. Toubman
Ellen H. Toubman
Content Specialist, World Languages (grades 2-12)
Medfield Public Schools
508-359-4367 ex 1015