ePIFanyNow™ is excited to announce the nominations of the 2018 Y-PIF Award! The ePIFanyNow™ Y-PIF Award honors youth who are passing kindness forward and making a positive contribution to their communities

Alec Johnson and brother Nick FIELD OF DREAMSAlec Johnson
“Field of Dreams” Peer Buddy Baseball
Alec Johnson is a junior at Fowlerville High School where he participates on the varsity Football and Baseball teams. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and works very hard both on and off the field.His passion for sports and desire to help his younger brother Nicholas participate in a team sport gave him an idea to start a Peer  Buddy Baseball club called “Field of Dreams” for the Fowlerville schools.Nicholas suffers from a rare disorder called FG Syndrome which limits his ability to participate in athletics. Alec designed “Field of Dreams” so it would allow all kids an opportunity to play an organized sport regardless of cognitive or physical ability, financial, or other circumstances that kept them from playing. The kids participate in weekly baseball practices, receive uniforms, compete in a full game where they are introduced onto the field and awarded trophies at the end of the game. This program has brought so many kids out to play the game of baseball and it has been a huge success.Alec is looking forward to continuing the program and also bringing a similar Football Victory Day program to the community that will provide this same type of experience.Alec has inspired many kids by giving them experience they will take with them for a lifetime. This program has brought such an impact to the community and this group would like for it to continue in the years to come.Alec would also like to bring this Peer Buddy Sport to Football in the fall and also for years to come. It is his way of giving back to the community and providing an opportunity for these kids that normally would not be a part of a team sport.
Hunter MedesHunter Medes
Hunter Medes was the first recipient of the Steve Sullivan award (a 6 month membership to the Original Okinawan Karate of Holt) in May 2016.  He was selected from over 400 students for this award by the teachers, principal and social worker at Elliott Elementary for demonstrating the following traits:1. A person of high character.
2. A person that demonstrates a positive example to all at Elliott Elementary.
3. A person dedicated to learning, and gives their very best in class.
4. A person that brightens the day of teachers and classmates regularly.One year later, Hunter volunteered to come back and speak to the entire 4th grade student body and their parents for the second recipient presentation of this award. He did AMAZING!After one year of being a karate student, Hunter has continued to demonstrate these qualities and taken on a leadership role at the Dojo in a “Mentor” position to other students.  This role was designed with Hunter in mind, and he has rose to the challenge. Hunter has volunteered over 100 hours to this project over the past year. He has since moved up to a “Junior Instructor” role. Hunter demonstrates, time and time again in all walks of his life, the traits listed above in the Steve Sullivan Award. He clearly was the right choice for this award, and I am honored to have him part of the Holt Dojo.Hunter says, “I would like to give back to the Steve Sullivan Fund, which was started in memory of Steve, who was a member of our Karate Dojo family.  I never met him, but winning his award has made me feel great about myself and I imagine he had many of the qualities I had to demonstrate in order to win.  I am thankful that he wanted to offer youth an opportunity to learn Karate. Being a student of Karate, I have learned respect, discipline and being a mentor I have learned patience, compassion.  I want to make sure other students have a chance to earn this award and help them start their journey with Karate and feel proud of themselves, too. “
Karena ShortKarena Short
Pop Tab Drive
Karena started a pop-tab drive at school so she could donate them to Ronald McDonald house. She is passionate about Ronald McDonald House because as a family we stayed there when she had to have multiple open heart surgeries.The little tabs you pull to open soda, soup or other aluminum cans are recycled and generate funds. The funds help pay for families who cannot afford to stay in hotels but want to be close to their child in the hospital.Karena has collected 13,000 tabs so far, and counting. Her hope is to make this collection a yearly event at school. We even have families mailing tabs to us.Karena She is doing something good from personal experience to help other families and their children in the hospital.
Kindness SistersMadilyn Hagan & KhiaLa Keyes
The Kindness Sisters
The Kindness Sisters was created step-sisters Madilyn Hagan and KhiaLa Keyes, who wanted to make the community they lived in a better place by making a difference in someone’s day and putting a smile on their face. Their first goal was to raise $250 to buy a bald American Girl Doll with accessories for an 8-year-old girl who had lost all her hair from chemo treatments in her fight against an aggressive form of Neuroblastoma. The sisters made signs and created a Facebook video asking for help. Within a week,
The Kindness Sisters surpassed their goal, raising an impressive $950! They received so much support from their first project that the girls decided to make a list of places they could help in their community. They created the “Diaries of The Kindness Sisters” Facebook page; did pop bottle drives and make-up fundraisers; and sold The Kindness Sisters & Bros t-shirts. Madilyn and KhiaLa even conquered their fear of public speaking by appearing on TV on Fox’s Morning Blend!
Both avid animal lovers, the Shiawassee Humane Society was first on their list to donate dog and cat food to. Next, they wanted to help the homeless, donating plates and bowls to the Walls of Warmth Shelter. They collected donations and bought items for Easter baskets for eight homeless children. After learning of a veteran who was receiving housing after seven years of homelessness, they filled his fridge with food and provided personal hygiene items. A local homeless couple in need of shelter during the summer months when all local shelters were closed received a new tent, bug spray, solar-powered lamp and a few other things to make their life a little more comfortable. At times when KhiaLa and Madilyn ran low on funds, they volunteered to plant flowers and care for a gardening spot in downtown Owosso.
Most recently, they paid for an economically challenged fourth grader to attend a Mackinac Island Field Trip. Madilyn stated, "It's just not fair that he can’t go. We have to help him.” They were not only excited to help a student in their school, but they also kept it a secret so the student didn’t get bullied. These examples are what it means to be a Kindness Sister. They just want to make a difference. They don’t do it for recognition. Since beginning The Kindness Sisters, KhiaLa and Madilyn have experienced a sense of belonging within their community. They feel responsible and appreciated. They enjoy making a difference and love that people know they can count on them when they need help! The girls have learned how to set and stick to a budget and document information. It's amazing to think that all of this started with a doll and two little girls who have generated waves of love and hope within their community! The Kindness Sisters is a non-profit organization that a then 8- and 7-year- old created out of their bedroom with a pad of paper, pen and a whole lot of compassion and vision for their community. The next project they are taking on is bigger than anything they have done before, and they need help to reach their goal! Shiawassee Hope – a nonprofit helping enable people to get out of poverty – wants to provide a playscape this summer for a mobile park with an extremely low socioeconomic status. The children of this area come from families of poverty and often do not have their daily basic needs met. This project will provide an entire community of children with a safe place to have fun. The Kindness Sisters have set a goal of $2,000 to help purchase a playscape. As Madilyn said, “Every kid has the right to a place where they can go and just be a kid!” KhiaLa agrees. “I know we can help the kids so they have can have fun like we do. We hope Y-PIF can help make this happen!”
Jackson Teens Fighting HungerJackson Teens Fighting HungerStudents from Northwest High School in Jackson County began meeting in 2018 with representatives from other high schools in the county to fight hunger. Our primary goal has been to spread information about hunger in Jackson County and share information about how students can help others and/or be helped.Several high schools from Jackson County have chosen to become involved with this movement. Northwest High School students have chosen to lead the charge amongst their county peers. We have created initiatives designed to share information within our high school about hunger in Jackson County. Students and staff also had the opportunity to take action by making treats with ingredients often found at local food banks and then sharing them the school population. All of the NWHS population was invited on multiple occasions to donate money as well to a local food bank.
Since the beginning of our organization and kickoff of information we have been making plans to enhance spreading the message within our district to students of all ages and encouraging students in other districts to act as well. We would like to continue our efforts into next school year promoting awareness throughout schools in the county and encouraging community members to become involved in solving the issue of hunger, especially as it pertains to children. In order to enhance our program, we would love to print informational materials and purchase supplies for more outreach projects on a much larger scale. In order to expand beyond our pilot year and school, we need the help of outside resources to spread the message and encourage involvement.

Alma Cooper Miss Michgan Teen PhotoAlma Cooper
Teen Ambassador for Fashion Hope
When she’s not working on her favorite causes to benefit others, 16-year-old Okemos High School Junior Alma Cooper participates in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. She is a two-time, all-conference academic student athlete and in the National Honor Society. She was Miss Black Jr. Teen in 2014, National Miss Jr. Teen Miss Captivating in 2017 and Miss Michigan Teen in 2018. Alma also wrote about teen issues for Polish Magazine.
But most importantly, throughout her life Alma has made a point of bringing awareness to causes that are near and dear to her heart.  And the list is significant.
To start, Alma is a mentor for students with special needs. Her sister Brooke is cognitively impaired, which inspired her to help other kids. While Alma was only in elementary school, she started volunteering as a student buddy to other kids during recess. She created Brooke’s Buddies, My Buddies for those who want to be a buddy and make lasting memories with peers with special needs. Alma also spends time encouraging her peers to go a little further and take part in organizations such as International Best Buddies.
Four years ago, Alma started with Fashion Hope, an organization geared toward assisting and improving the lives of individuals who have been rescued from unfair or illegal working environments.  Her mom found out about the organization when she bought a leather bag to support ladies who had been rescued from human traffickers. Alma loved the idea and submitted a story about it to a teen magazine, but it was declined. Undeterred, Alma started a Facebook page and posted content that would empower girls. Alma also listed items she bought from different organizations that support efforts to end human trafficking. With Fashion Hope’s permission, Alma made a video to shed light on her at-risk peers.
After an interview Alma did on HOM-TV, a former mentor asked her to be part of a panel of teens to share and inspire teens in Chicago this year. Alma says she took on being a Fashion Hope “ambassador” as more than volunteering; she treats it like a job. She says the opportunity to change someone’s life as an “undercover hero” was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She is enthusiastic about carrying Fashion Hope’s message wherever she goes.
So far, Alma has brought in more than 40 bags of clothing for safe havens in Michigan and Tanzania, and plans on visiting a safe haven in Miami, Florida. Any money she wins through the Y-PIF program will go toward helping to get more items needed for those suffering in Tanzania.
Along with continuing to be an ambassador for Fashion Hope, Alma also wants to bring awareness to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety – challenges both she and other close friends and peers have gone through at different points in their lives.
Fashion Hope Video: