Forman Scholars Give Back to Their Communities

It’s only through the tremendous generosity of Forman S. Acton that our foundation is able to provide financial assistance for Salem’s youth to pursue their dreams. In return, we ask our Forman Scholars to pay it forward and give back to their communities.

We recently checked in with 14 of our Scholars to learn about the specific programs they participated in over the past year. From cleaning up roads in Salem, to volunteering with local organizations, to joining fundraisers. Here’s how they gave back.

Madinah Thomas
How she gave back
: Volunteered to help with Rowan's freshman move-in, as well as numerous events, including Back to the Boro, Miles for Medals, Stress Less Week, Health and Fitness Expo, Take Back the Night and Police Athletic League Home Run Derby.

What it meant to her
: “I love community service because in a world where almost everything has a monetary value, kindness and lending a helping hand are things you cannot place a price on. Through my service in each project I received so many thank yous and big smiles and got to see the direct effect of what kindness and lending a helping hand can do." 

"For instance, Back to the Boro is an annual tradition at my school where you visit a resident of Glassboro’s home and help them restore their yard. This year we helped an elderly couple plant flowers, paint their back desk, dust and tidy up their home. They were so appreciative they gave a rave review about my group and our work."

"Also, the Home Run Derby is a day full of baseball, dodge ball and kickball for inner city kids of Philadelphia who do not get a chance to do things like this normally. It was extremely rewarding because a young boy told me he never played kickball and asked me to explain. After explaining, we were in charge of second base together, and through our team effort, we got all three outs together. To watch his excitement and receive a high five from him … priceless."

Mya Avant

How she gave back: Helped with annual barbecue at church, and supported special needs children at mother’s school.

What it meant to her: “Overall, I was able to build meaningful connections in both these volunteer projects. It made me feel great to know that creating connections with people can have such a huge impact. I feel like a lot of time we forget how much just being kind and speaking to people can change someone's entire day.”

Thomas Poliski
How he gave back: Participated in “Capture the Kite” event for CASA and St. Baldrick's Foundation, FTK (For the Kids) Dance Marathon, and Sting Hunger

What it meant to him: “Those who were affected by the projects I was involved with were very grateful and appreciative. Specifically, for the FTK Dance Marathon I know the kids who were battling illness had a really fun time which makes me feel like I had a direct impact on making someone's life better. My participation in these projects showed me that community service is not a daunting task, and it's not just about meeting a requirement for hours. I did not even know we needed to have a certain number of hours before I signed up for these projects, I just did it because I felt like I should get involved. That being said I am glad I did because it makes you feel good about yourself and I had a lot more fun than I expected.”

Dominique Johnson
How she gave back: Volunteered for trash pick-up event at Salisbury University called The Big Event.

What it meant to her: “With picking up trash, we are bettering the Earth, and while thinking communally, I took the opportunity to realize that this is just one step in bettering other communities, and their environments as well. With this, it is one more step in helping cleaning the world.”

Megan Sharp
How she gave back: Volunteered at NJ State Jr. Grange Camp, FBC of Salem Food Pantry, Tray Favors for Salem County Meals on Wheels and clothing drive for the Morris Home.

What it meant to her: "These projects connected people with important resources, such as food and clothing, as well as experiences. My hope is that those who were impacted by these projects were able to feel less of a burden in the case of the food pantry and that those who received the tray favors felt thought of and loved. Some of these projects had a tangible impact while others were more abstract. Either way, these projects aimed to make those served by them feel cared for and secure.

"Contributing to the clothing drive for the Morris Home gave me an opportunity to learn more about the transgender and gender nonconforming communities here in Philadelphia. It also gave me an opportunity to help my friends and family broaden their horizons as I introduced them to the project.

"Making tray favors for Meals on Wheels also had a significant impact on me. I invited my friends and family to join me at my house on the day before Thanksgiving to make winter crafts to send to Meals on Wheels. The timing of this project was probably the largest contributing factor to the way it made me feel but it was empowering to know that no matter what is going on in the world it's possible to be a light to even a few people."

S'Deionna Washington
How she gave back: Volunteered for Teen Prevention Education Program, Stop Hunger Now, and Head Start.

What it meant to her: “For Teen PEP, I went to the high school and spoke about the Teen PEP program to teachers who anticipated adding it to their school curriculum.  I was enrolled in this program for 2 years during high school. For stop hunger now we packed 10,000 meals for those of the less fortunate and I'm sure they greatly appreciated it. Lastly, for head start we cleaned, organized and helped teachers set up their classrooms for the upcoming school year. It let me understand that something so little could mean so much to another person.”

Mariah Pierce
How she gave back: Created shadow boxes at Robert Wood Johnson Children's Hospital, RU 1st Food Packaging Event and served as RU TRIO panelist.

What it meant to her: “It inspired me to want to give back more often, not even when it is just required. I especially enjoyed the food packaging event and I want to get more involved with them during this upcoming academic school year. Hunger is something that affects a good portion of the world and I would love to help prevent that.”

Samantha Miller
How she gave back: Volunteered to help move in freshman with the Marching Unit, to usher for the wind ensemble concerts, to play with the Marching Unit at the local Special Olympics, and to work at the desk of the art auction for the Honors Program.

What it meant to her: “I believe, especially at the music related events, I helped the community feel more connected and welcomed to the music community. For the freshman move-in, I believe it relieved some of the stresses of move-in for a lot of students and families. I felt more connected to the community through volunteering.”

Abigail Sharp
How she gave back: Volunteered at 4-H LIFE Program Mickey Bowman Food Pantry through the 4-H Life Program.

What it meant to her
: “My participation with the Mickey Bowman Food Pantry and the 4-H LIFE Program is eye-opening. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household in which I had the support of my family and few worries about the future. I have become more open-minded toward others, grateful for my life experiences and hopeful for the future of myself and those I have been able to help through my participation in theses service projects.”

Tiasia Tatem
How she gave back: Volunteered for Teen Prevention Education Program panel, cemetery clean-up, volunteered at a daycare, Relay for Life event.

What it meant to her: “I believe each event had its own impact. Teen PEP panel allowed me to spread awareness to Salem community on the benefits of Teen PEP, where both the clean-up and daycare allowed me to give back to the city of Lynchburg. Lastly, Relay for Life allowed me to continue to show awareness and help fight cancer. Each project helped me to see my growth as an individual when it came to public speaking and meeting new people, while also networking with others.”

Lissie Hogate
How she gave back: Volunteered for The Pink Walk for Cancer, Empty Bowls, campus clean-ups and Relay for Life.

What it meant to her
: “Two of these events raised money for cancer, and the others gave food to the Salvation Army, which helps feed and clothe the community. I never heard of Empty Bowls before, so it opened my eyes to how many homeless people live in my college's community and that we, as students, do have the power to impact their lives.”

Noah Underwood
How he gave back: Immaculata FYE Habitat for Humanity Restore, LAC Ambulance Squad Fundraisers.

What it meant to him: “My work allowed for an easier experience for everyone who needed to shop at the Restore in Coatesville, and I understood more about a hard day’s work, and how it feels after knowing you truly helped people out.”


Brittany Garcia
How she gave back: Volunteered at animal shelter.

What it meant to her: “I helped cats and dogs that were abandoned find a loving family to take them in. It made me feel like I was making a difference in the world.”


Tanner Humphreys
How he gave back: Cleaned up Grieves Parkway.

What it meant to him: “I helped to provide a safe, clean community for the citizens of Salem. It was hard work, and by seeing what people were throwing away, I learned a lot about people and their problems.”


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