Five more busy teens who find the time to act

By Sarah Corrigan
Globe Correspondent / December 23, 2010

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They’re at every high school: students who find time outside classes and sports and band practice to work for something larger than themselves.

Here are the ways they contribute, and why:

►At Dover-Sherborn High School, senior Tess Gatof is editor of the student newspaper, student council president, and captain of the tennis team. Outside of school, Tess organizes Hope for the Holidays, a gift-card drive for guests of the Hope Lodge in Boston, a self-catering residential facility for out-of-town families with a relative undergoing treatment for cancer at a city hospital.

In her third year with the fund-raising initiative, Tess has collected $15,000 to purchase gift cards to grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and ice cream stands to help visitors facing difficult times have a few comforts of home.

In her own words: “There are millions of causes, and it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s just important to do something about it.’’

►Bailey Moon and Amelia Sturt-Dilley, seniors at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, head up the Artists Against AIDS group, which last year raised more than $14,000 to benefit the AIDS Action Committee through the annual AIDS Walk Boston.

Last month, Moon and Sturt-Dilley organized a benefit concert and art auction featuring student singers, musicians, and artists, bringing in $4,000 for the cause.

In his own words: “We’ve been gifted with an art, and this is our way of using it to give back.’’ —Bailey Moon

►A sophomore at Natick High School, Julia Fitzgerald has been a participant and team captain for the local Relay For Life cancer fund-raising walk for seven years. Her inspiration is her father, who died after a long battle with the disease.

This fall, Julia’s Relay for Life team raised more than $9,000, placing them in the top five for the local event.

In her own words: “I saw what my dad went through, and that’s not something I want for any other kid to face.’’

►Rachel Sandalow-Ash, a senior at Brookline High School, is copresident of Student Action for Justice and Education, and hosts awareness events and collects thousands of cans of food each year for the Brookline Food Pantry.

In addition, she serves on the school’s Environmental Action Club as well as the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is fund-raising group, which organized a benefit yoga class that raised $2,000 to help provide fresh water to a widows’ ashram in India.

In her own words: “Many people doing small things can make a huge difference in the world. Even better, groups of people working together can have an enormous impact.’’

giving spirit

Some volunteer because of challenges they themselves have faced. Others look out on the world and see a need they can fill. But whether providing aid to rural villages in Guatemala or bringing a smile to a sick child close to home, these local teenagers are making a difference.