Name: Avani Dalal
Family: She lives with her parents, Atul and Trupti, and sister, Ruchi.
Occupation: Avani is a sophomore at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she majors in biochemistry and has a minor in math. She is also part of the Duquesne University Scholars Program. In this program, provided she meets all requirements, she will be accepted into the Temple University Medical School following her graduation, and she will continue her studies to be a doctor.
Name of volunteer organizations: Best Buddies and St. Luke’s Hospital—Allentown Campus
Describe what you do: “At the hospital, I basically help wherever I am needed. I help mostly with patient needs. Right now I am in the emergency department volunteering.
“Best Buddies is an organization at college, where I help special needs students. I have been assigned a student that I will help until graduation. And if I can, I will continue to help other buddies after that at other locations outside of college.”
Why and how long have you volunteered? “I have always enjoyed helping special needs children. I’m not sure how long I have been volunteering with various groups and activities involving children with special needs. It was also my Girl Scout project.”
Tell us about the award you received. “My project was to raise awareness for autism. I had a movie night at Eyer Middle School for main-streamed and special education students in order for them to interact with each other. It went very well. I also made a documentary in which I interviewed mothers, children, doctors and a school principal on the subject of autism and showed it at a church. Then, I designed a pamphlet and distributed it in the community.
Earlier this year, I received Girl Scout’s highest award — the Gold Award for outstanding achievement and public service.”
How can someone get involved with these groups if they want? “The best way is through the Best Buddies website. There are groups all over, not just at colleges. But there are many other organizations in which people can help special needs children. Schools are a good place to ask for assistance.
“For the hospital, a person just has to call the hospital they are interested in.”
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