Taylor Leong - Blanchard Middle School
It is with pleasure that I nominate Taylor Leong (age 14); she is absolutely a "class act", not only in our town of Westford, but also throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire! Eight years ago, Taylor founded her organization, "For the Love of Erika" in memory of her childhood friend who passed away from cancer. Initially, Taylor and Erika had decided that they were going to collect gifts to distribute to children at local hospitals; this idea had come out of Erika's illness, the great feeling Taylor would receive when bringing gifts to Erika, and Erika's wish to "pay it forward". Unfortunately, Erika passed away before deliveries could begin, and Taylor has continued on with their mission for the past 8 years. In addition to collecting gifts that she delivers to local hospitals, Taylor has expanded her annual toy drive to other disadvantaged children. Twice a year, Taylor, with the help of local businesses, hosts holiday parties for 6 homeless shelters. In addition to this, Taylor (and friends) also collect gifts to distribute to more than 15 shelters. In the past 8 years, Taylor has collected more than 7,000 gifts (with an estimated value of more than $150,000) that she has PERSONALLY delivered to children throughout Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Her generosity, does not end here. She has helped support her sisters' compassion projects, which helps with their collections of backpacks for DCF children, and summer camp scholarships for disadvantaged children. In addition to this, Taylor has participated in 3 Jimmy Fund Walks, has donated her hair to "Locks of Love", and has helped raise more than $2,000, which she personally delivered to victims of the tornadoes in Central Massachusetts. Currently, Taylor is working with a group of professionals to start their first charity fun run, scheduled for later this fall.