Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Honor Students for Community Work
Angelena Rios didn’t want other families to have to go through what hers did. That’s why the Island Coast High School senior started “Leave the Room,” a project that gives families of breast cancer patients love, support and encouragement while they go through the emotional process of seeing their loved ones endure agonizing treatments.
The endeavor garnered Rios this year’s $1,000 grand prize in the annual Make a Difference Day Awards given by Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured.
Rios started the project after her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. She found the support system for families lacking, so she worked to give other families of cancer patients a couple of movie tickets, a snack or a gift card to a nice restaurant — small but meaningful respites that help those families recharge and stay in the right frame of mind.
She also provides help directly to patients. Many women going through treatment told Rios they became very cold during their chemotherapy and radiation sessions, so she learned to crochet and began making blankets for them.
Students from middle and high schools in Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties were invited to participate in the program, which recognized extraordinary volunteer efforts and engagement in community projects that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to the grand prize, $250 prizes went to the most deserving student from each school that had at least three applicants. More than 50 people were on hand recently at The Edison restaurant in Fort Myers as Attorney P.J. Scheiner announced the honorees.
The following students were recognized with $250 awards:
- Janae Mouton, Golden Gate High
- Melissa Ruiz Hernandez, Immokalee High
- Sharleen Julot, Cape Coral High
- Mitch Plaisir, Dunbar High
- Julia Robertson, Mariner High
- Austin Wilson, North Fort Myers High
- Bryan Santos, South Fort Myers High
- Lauren Maheu, Lemon Bay High
- Morgan McAtee, Charlotte High
- Daneisha Germany, Clewiston High
- Ciara Iglesias, Clewiston Christian High
- Peyton McCarthy, Gulf Middle
- Cassidy Gibbs, Murdock Middle
- Kelsey Swartout, Bonita Springs Middle
- Isabella Jauregui, Manatee Middle