By Janee Law
As a camp counselor at the Huntington YMCA, Delanna Richardson, Joshua Kaplan and Michael Wegmann have helped others by demonstrating kindness, while inspiring others during difficult times.
For reflecting the legacy of the late Claire Friedlander, who witnessed atrocities in Poland during the Holocaust and believed in helping others during the worst of times, the trio has been recognized by the nonprofit Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. Each of the college students were presented with the Claire Award, a $2,500 scholarship.
“It’s an honor to acknowledge these outstanding young leaders who exemplify Claire’s legacy of doing good deeds and prioritizing others,” Eileen Knauer, senior vice president and COO of the YMCA of Long Island, said. “Claire Friedlander’s legacy provides a platform to help support young people from Huntington as they prepare to enter college.”
The foundation, which was established by Friedlander prior to her death, focuses on investing in nonprofit organizations and initiatives that promote kindness and help enhance the lives of others.
In addition to these scholarships, the foundation also donated $7,500 to the Huntington YMCA. That donation is intended to be used to pay for the final week of camp for 20 local Huntington Station campers entering grades K-3.
“We are thrilled to partner with the YMCA of Long Island, and to award these select college-bound counselors, who are wonderful community leaders in their own right and who demonstrate the willingness to care for others,” said Peter Klein, president of the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, and managing director/partner of Melville-based Klein Wealth Management. “We wish these individuals the best and are so honored to invest in their futures.”
In regards to receiving his scholarship, Kaplan, 19, of Greenlawn, said that he loved making an impact on campers’ lives.
“I know a lot of them enjoy coming to camp every day and I just try to make it a great experience for every one of them,” Kaplan, who is a sophomore at Farmingdale State College, said. Kaplan, who graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 2015, is continuing to work at the YMCA throughout the school year and summer 2017.
Richardson, who is currently a freshman at Utica University, said that she was surprised upon receiving the scholarship.
“I had no idea I was receiving a scholarship,” said Delanna Richardson, 18, of Huntington, a Walt Whitman High School grad. “I was very blessed and fortunate to have that. I’m very happy.”
Wegmann, 17, of Huntington, also said receiving the scholarship was an “amazing surprise.”
“I’m very honored and very grateful to have been awarded this very generous scholarship from the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation,” said Wegmann, a Harborfields High School grad who is now a freshman at Bentley University in Massachusetts. “I’d really like to thank them for their outstanding generosity in granting the scholarship.”
Both Richardson and Wegmann said they hope to return to the Huntington YMCA as counselors in summer 2017.
Wegmann said, “I love bonding with the kids and I just loved
everything about it. It was a great experience.”