Partly Cloudy   41.0F  |  Forecast »

Ann Arbor Teen Helps Kids and Wins Community Award

Braeleigh Apley created a 'Princess and Pirate Day' for little patients at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and earned a top honor from Prudential

For a few hours, sick children changed into fancy and fearless characters. And Braeleigh Apley, the Ann Arbor high school senior who made it possible, is getting big props as a result.

Her "Princess and Pirate Day" earned her a nod as a top youth volunteer in Michigan as part of the national Prudential Spirit of Community Awards announced for 2012. Braeleigh, 17, is recognized as the winner in the southeast Michigan area. Shayna Wierenga, 13, of Grand Haven is the other winner. Both honorees have a shot at national recognition.

Braeleigh created and organized an unforgettable November day at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in 2010 – from recruiting 20 teen volunteers (and training them in patient safety and security) to creating games and goodies for kids. Her goal? To alleviate some of the anxiety little patients can experience during their stays.

Dressed in full princess and pirate costumes, Braeleigh and her crew helped children make fairy houses and treasure islands – and paraded through the halls, singing and laughing. Children got their own hats, wands, swords, capes and eye patches (even patients confined to their rooms received fairy-delivered gift bags). And Braeleigh funded it all with money earned from a summer "Princess Camp" she's hosted for girls at her family's home since she was 9.

"I think it is important that we never lose touch with the imaginative side of (our) lives," Braeleigh said in a statement, "especially if it can bring happiness to those who are suffering."

Her school, Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, nominated her. She and Shayna both received $1,000 awards, engraved medallions and a spring trip to the nation's capitol – which includes a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and visit with their congressional rep on Capitol Hill.

Southeast Michigan kids in Orion Township, Plymouth, Troy and Beverly Hills also earned "distinguished finalist" honors.

Now in its 17th year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, run by the financial services company, represents the country's largest youth recognition program "based solely on volunteer service." One high school and one middle school student is recognized from each state, plus Washington, D.C.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

These cool DIY projects are a blast for kids and families to make, all celebrating Disney's latest movie spin on the classic Muppet gang.

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

April 15 is the IRS tax filing deadline, aka Tax Day. Whether you've got a baby or a college kid, here's how to get the most out of your income tax returns.

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

This downriver area consignment store is stocked with lots of trendy gently used options for new and expecting moms, plus handmade baby gifts and more.

Glass Action! Ferndale Mom Makes Cool Stained Glass Stuff

Glass Action! Ferndale Mom Makes Cool Stained Glass Stuff

Along with her iconic rock 'n' roll nightlights, Carey Gustafson makes custom portraits of kids, parents, pets and more, perfect for a cool family gift

Kid-Friendly Matzo Recipes for Passover

Kid-Friendly Matzo Recipes for Passover

Make this Jewish holiday memorable for your family with these creative recipes – from matzo grilled cheese to matzo lasagna.

Paint Wood-Turned Egg Forms for an Easter Treat that Lasts

Paint Wood-Turned Egg Forms for an Easter Treat that Lasts

Why not try a more eco-friendly version of plastic eggs with your family this holiday season? This DIY project is super customizable and makes great decor.

Local Mom Pepper Sprays Chuck E. Cheese's Patrons in Troy

Local Mom Pepper Sprays Chuck E. Cheese's Patrons in Troy

A Hamtramck woman's anger got the best of her at a southeast Michigan location of this kids party chain. What sparked her frustration at fellow patrons?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement