Junior Casey Poore has been awarded for her work with a club that strives to make a connection with Special Education students, in order to help them feel more comfortable at school.
Poore was given the Rising Star Award in November for her work with the Friendship Club, in which Redwood Special Education students and other students spend time together. The award included $250 to donate to a charity of her choice, which she said she has yet to decide on.
Poore became the president of the Friendship Club this year, and said that her work with the club consists of many activities done with the Special Ed students, including baking, art, and singing.
Every year, the Pacific Sun and Circle Bank recognize eight “Heroes of Marin” for their outstanding contributions to the community. Although most of these awards honor adults, the Rising Star Award is exclusively for people between 10 and 18 years of age.
“I have the potential to be someone that will be able to serve the community in helpful ways, just like all of the other adults who got the award for a lifelong achievement,” Poore said.
Poore said that she first wanted to become involved in the Friendship Club freshman year because she is interested in neurology, and many of the Special Ed students have neurological disorders.
“I tried to do it freshman year, but I didn’t think I was mature enough to be able to deal with the Special Ed students,” Poore said. “I did it sophomore year and I was totally fine with it. You just have to get used to the type of children who are in the Special Ed department, because a lot of people just aren’t comfortable being around them.”
According to Poore, students who participate in the Friendship Club get paired up with a buddy who is a part of the Special Ed program. She said she has become close with Michelle Monroy, a girl who is diagnosed with autism.
“The woman who organizes the club with me made a metaphor about how the kids in Friendship Club only have a close circle of friends,” Poore said. “They’re in the center and then they have their mom and dad and maybe one friend that they have in one of their classes. By being in the Friendship Club, we’re adding a different layer of people that they know.”
Other people who received a Hero of Marin award include James Dunn, 30 year director of the Mountain Play, and Nancy Novack, founder of Nancy’s list, a nonprofit organization which helps people diagnosed with cancer.