July 11, 2023

Seymour Kaplan Recipient: How Allie Cares for Her Community

Allie’s story of kindness is trailed with anecdotes of her successes of learning what it means to advocate for herself and others.

Allie* was recently awarded the prestigious Seymour Kaplan Humanitarian Award at her eighth-grade graduation.

The Seymour Kaplan Award recipients are nominated by their peers for their humanitarian work in building relationships and treating everyone with dignity, kindness, and respect.

Allie’s story of kindness is trailed with anecdotes of her successes of learning what it means to advocate for herself and others.


Allie was stumped. Staring at the laptop screen and a building anxiety welled up. She needed help from her teacher regarding an assignment but was not sure how to write the email. How do you write an email? What is her teacher’s email?

Kids across the country faced similar situations like Allie, who was swooped into virtual learning when the COVID-19 pandemic drove schools to quarantine. Her mother and grandmother encouraged Allie to think about her resources. So, she asked her mentor Bess, who has been beside her since third grade.

Not only did Bess worked with Allie with how to write an email, but they had conversations on what it meant to advocate for herself. The courage to raise her hand and speak up when she does not understand the lessons. Coming to her teachers to redo assignments. Making her expectations clear during group assignments.

Allie, with time, became empowered and confident in advocating for her needs. This journey did not go unnoticed by her teachers and peers.

Back in-person and experiencing her first steps into the middle-school experience, Allie happily tasted the variety of electives available. By eighth-grade, she decided to replace one of her elective slots to be a teacher’s assistant. Allie happily chatted with Bess about her experiences TA-ing and balancing her tasks.

What Allie did not mention to her mentor is that she kept TA-ing after the semester was over. She stepped in to answer the phone, carry papers, deliver materials, and help out with office tasks. In fact, Bess only learned of this after Allie was handed the Seymour Kaplan award.

The office staff also noticed Allie’s assertiveness and to do beyond what was asked. Allie was central to the spirit of community service at her school.

Allie’s journey continues into her transition to high school. With her vibrance and bolstering altruism, Allie is sure to make an impact in her next adventure.

* Youth’s name changed to protect their privacy.