Youth Award, Awarded to Outstanding Youth

Tri-Town Youth Services, Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council Award


Celebrated for her years of volunteerism, her responsibility, her dedication, her die hard commitment and her overall good nature; Ivoryton resident, Mackenzie Holdmeyer was awarded with the Youth Volunteer Award, by the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council.

Throughout her high school career at Valley Regional, Holdmeyer, a steadfast over achiever, with high standards for herself and those around her, generously volunteered her time at Tri-Town Youth Services, which services the towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex. She worked on substance abuse projects, was the Vice President of the Youth Action Council, involved with the “big sister” program, tutored younger kids and worked in many other capacities at the youth service program, which has a mission of supporting positive youth development.

“Mackenzie is an outstanding young lady,” says Gail Onofrio, Tri-Town Youth Services executive director and the person who nominated Holdmeyer for the award. “She has contributed so much to our programs here that I jumped at the opportunity to nominate her for this, she is definitely deserving of this award.”

Holdmeyer, who is now studying pre-med as a freshman at the University of Connecticut, admits that when she started volunteering at Tri-Town she was kind of pushed into it.

“It was my boyfriend’s mother, Jackie Doanne’s idea and I am so glad I did it,” says Holdmeyer of the work she has done volunteering. “Once I got started I realized how rewarding volunteering was and I loved it!”

She adds, “I think my favorite aspect of all this is the mentoring group. Knowing that those kids need you, and are looking forward to seeing you because they need someone to talk to and someone to listen to them really makes me feel good and I enjoy their company.”

Harboring a love for horses, Holdmeyer also gives of her time at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center, in Old Lyme. She has been working with the horses there, as well as the children and adults, since she was twelve and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“High Hopes is just another way for me to volunteer my time and help others,” says a cheerful Holdmeyer.

A member of the National Honor Society, when she isn’t studying or volunteering her time to others, Holdmeyer is busy running her “Big Mac Enterprise,” beef business with her father, raising beef cattle on their 25 acre homestead, in Ivoryton. She also shows her cows at local fairs and rides horses at Flight Way Farm in Chester.

“I like to stay busy and I encourage others to do so also. Volunteering is a great way to do that. Find something you are interested in and volunteer your time to it, you will see how good it feels and how important it is to others,” says Holdmeyer, who is just now realizing the impact her time, effort and dedication has had on others.

“I am so happy and proud to have won this award. Personally it is a very big deal for me and I think it is a really big deal for Tri-Town Youth Services also, so they get the recognition they deserve,” shares Holdmeyer who was chosen to be awarded this honor from a pool of several nominees from over 15 towns in the Middlesex County area.

Although she is very busy with her college studies right now, she still makes a consistent commitment of her time to both Tri-Town as well as High Hopes and several other organizations such as the local soup kitchen and the Essex Community Fund.

“Everyone has something to give and something to offer others, so we encourage everyone to follow Mackenzie’s lead and make a valuable contribution to others,” says Onofrio, who is more than pleased with Holdmeyer and ecstatic about this award.

For more information about the Tri-Town Youth Services, go to www.tritownys.org.


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