A Westhampton Beach student's philanthropic efforts have earned her the 2015 Leaders of Tomorrow Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Long Island Chapter.
Ariana DeMattei, a sophomore at Westhampton Beach High School, received the award in recognition of her "exceptional accomplishments" through volunteerism and philanthropic activities, the organization said. She will be honored during a luncheon at the Huntington Hilton on Nov. 13.
DeMattei's efforts include founding Backpacks for Fellow Students, which has provided more than 750 backpacks to students in need in the Center Moriches, East Quogue and Westhampton Beach school districts. She is a co-founder of The "Love Me" project, which strives to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and positive self-images among girls.
"I'm very honored to be selected," said DeMattei, 14. "By yourself you can do incredible things, but when you have support of people around you, you can do anything."
To raise money for backpacks, DeMattei held fundraisers including pie sales, coin drives and a "Spring Splash" polar plunge that attracted 150 participants to Rogers Beach. She is coordinating a second annual "Race for a Reason" 5K at Cupsogue Beach County Park on Nov. 1 to raise funds for local students in need of food and school supplies.
Her other efforts include volunteering at the East Hampton Food Pantry and Maureen's Haven, a Riverhead-based outreach program that helps homeless adults.
She also is a member of her school's tennis team, Student Government, Key Club, Rotary Interact Club and Human Understanding and Growth Seminars (H.U.G.S.).