Apley Named One of Top Two Youth Volunteers in State
Braeleigh Apley ’12 was recently named one of Michigan’s top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
Last year Braeleigh conceived and organized a “Princess & Pirate Day” at Mott’s Children’s Hospital. Braeleigh said that while previously volunteering at the hospital, she “saw the value and need for (hospitalized) children to interact with younger people, besides doctors, parents and other adults.” Because she had run a summer “princess camp” for young girls for seven years, she thought she knew exactly how to give the young patients a brief reprieve from the stress and anxiety of their hospital stays.
Braeleigh developed a proposal for a “Princess & Pirate Day” at the hospital, and worked out the logistics with hospital administrators. She then recruited 20 teens from different schools to help her, and gave them training in patient safety and security. Partly with money earned from her princess camp, Braeleigh purchased supplies for the big event, and after weeks of planning, she and her helpers went to the hospital dressed in full princess and pirate costumes. They provided hats, wands, swords, capes and eye patches for the children and family members in attendance; helped them make fairy houses and treasure islands; played games; and paraded through the halls singing and laughing. Patients confined to their rooms received gift bags delivered by fairies.
“I think it is important that we never lose touch with the imaginative side of our lives, especially if it can bring happiness to those who are suffering,” said Braeleigh.
As a state honoree (the other honored youth, Shayna White, is from Grand Haven), Braeleigh will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she and Shayna will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 20l2 at that time.
“We are so proud of Braeleigh and the difference she’s made in the community,” says head of upper school Cathy Renaud. “We are thrilled that she is getting the recognition she deserves and wish her the best at the next level.”