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Way to Go! Student recognized for volunteering in Hispanic community

Christopher Valencia, a fourth-grader at John F. Kennedy

Christopher Valencia, a fourth-grader at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School in Deer Park, was honored last month by the Town of Babylon's Hispanic Heritage Month Program. Credit: Deer Park School District

A Deer Park student is making an impact volunteering for the Hispanic community.

Christopher Valencia, a fourth-grader at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School, has been involved in everything from singing holiday carols and writing "caring cards" for area senior citizens through the organization Latina Moms Connect, to donating dozens of his own books and toys to the Long Island Latino Teachers Association.

The books and toys are then sold to raise money for scholarships for English language learners who are pursuing careers in education, according to his mother, Priscilla.

"I like to help other people, if they need help with anything that's important," said Christopher, 9, who was honored last month for his efforts at the Town of Babylon's 23rd Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Program.

Christopher's other activities include assisting the Town of Babylon's Hispanic Heritage Committee to organize backpacks filled with school supplies — as well as books and toys — that are given away as part of the town's annual program.

The items are provided by such organizations as the John Theissen Children's Foundation, the UJA Federation of New York and Books Fairies, a nonprofit based in Freeport.

"I feel that we have to give back somehow to our community," Priscilla said. "When there are people in need we have to try to be there, and I want to instill in him those leadership skills."

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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