PaliHi Seniors Honored for ” A Call Away”

25-YMCA group photoBy SUE PASCOE

Editor
If you have a child in the hospital, you might feel overwhelmed, not only with worry about your child and his/her illness, but trying to keep the household running.

Three Palisades High seniors—Amber Perry and Olivia and Zoe Stutman—started A Call Away, a community service effort to help those parents with grocery shopping, meal delivery, organizing paperwork, pet care, laundry, childcare and homework help, and raising money for parking fees.

In recognition of their outstanding philanthropic efforts, they were honored by the YMCA of Greater Metropolitan Los Angeles. They were chosen from 1,177 participants to attend the Youth & Government Excellence in Leadership Award Banquet in March.

After attending New West Charter Middle School, Amber, Olivia and Zoe stepped onto the PaliHi campus in 2012. As freshmen, they joined the YMCA Youth and Government program, which helps to develop positive character traits, emphasizes community involvement and teaches students the democratic process through hands-on participation in a model legislation and court program.

While involved with the program, the three girls sought ways they could reach out to those in need. Olivia and Zoe’s father was in a serious car accident in 2009, and was hospitalized for many months, requiring multiple surgeries and a lengthy recovery time.

“Through our family’s experience, we saw how hard it was to maintain some sort of normalcy in our lives,” the twins said. “We knew we wanted to help people going through similar situations.”

When a close friend of Amber’s family was diagnosed with lung cancer, the teen saw the strain on the family. “My mom paid for a private chef to prepare a home-cooked meal,” Amber said. “They told us it was the best meal that they had in a long time—and that stress was lifted off their shoulders, if only for a night.”

“We discussed ways we could make a difference, and helping others with his hardship seemed essential,” the three said. The most difficult part was getting their help to families who could benefit.

“Once we partnered with Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, we had an easier time connecting with families in our community. We also work alongside UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and help families from other hospitals around Los Angeles.”

Next year, Amber and Olivia will attend UC Berkeley with plans to major in cognitive science and economics, respectively. Zoe will attend Tulane and a major in public health. The three young philanthropists hope to continue A Call Away while in college. Amber’s sister Jasmine is already in line to keep the program alive in Los Angeles.

Amber’s parents are Linda and Michael Perry. Olivia and Zoe’s parents are Sandy and Gary Stutman.

The three seniors called their involvement with the Youth and Government program life-changing and urge others to join. Meetings are held at PaliHi, but students from all local high schools are welcomed. Funding for this program is subsidized by program fees and donations raised through the YMCA’s annual campaign which provides financial assistance for anyone who cannot afford the full cost of a program. Contact: Stephanie Duncan at stephanieduncan@ymcala.org<mailto:stephanieduncan@ymcala.org>.
(Left to right) Helen Levin (YMCA Board Member), Makayla Michelini (Y & G Delegate), Amber Perry (A Call Away Founder), Cameron Brown (YMCA Board Member), Zoe Stutman (A Call Away Founder), Shelly Skaro (YMCA Executive Director), Erika Siao (Y & G Delegate) and Olivia Stutman (A Call Away Founder) are all smiles at the YMCA Leadership banquet.

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