Audience members watch Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillip present Roslyn High School student Emma Cohen with her award. (Photo courtesy Senator Steve Rhoads’ account on Facebook)

Roslyn High Schoolers Honored In 30th Annual Good Deed Awards

By Erica Schwartz
[email protected]

Four Roslyn high school students were honored at Nassau County’s 30th Annual Good Deed Awards for Long Island Teenagers. Hosted annually by Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad of Mineola, the Good Deed Award Awards celebrates young people across Long Island who exemplify the values of caring, equality, social justice, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and courage. Roslyn’s students were among only 31 winners county-wide.

The award recipients pose with Rabbi Perl and various Nassau County officials. (Photo courtesy Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Mary Jo Collins’ Facebook account)

“We constantly hear and read of young people criticized by parents, teachers, and the media,” Rabbi Anchelle Perl, director of the Chabad of Mineola, said in a post on Chabad Mineola’s website. “We decided what the community needs was more exposure to kids who are doing good things.”

The award recipients from Roslyn High School were Isabel Levine, Benjamin Rabinovich, Emma Cohen, and Caroline Faber.

Isabel Levine won her award for her work with medically complex children, serving as the “Cohen’s Strong Ambassador” for the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center and helping children and their families at Sunrise Day Camp, a day camp for children with cancer and their families. Levine was additionally honored for her work lobbying for gun safety and fair voter registration with Students United for Safer Schools.

Benjamin Rabinovich won his award for creating Teen Support Project for Ukraine, an aid fundraiser for refugees escaping the Russian-Ukrainian war. This project raised $30,000 to provide medical supplies, food, and temporary housing in Poland to Ukrainian refugees. Rabinovich said he learned to help others by watching his father buy a meal for a homeless man. That experience, he said, also motivated him to take fellow students to New York City to create and distribute care packages for people experiencing homelessness.

Emma Cohen won her award for her work with medically complex children and their families through the Ronald McDonald House and her work with the Village of East Hills Friends for Friends, a social program that connects neurodivergent and neurotypical youth. In addition to her work with children, Cohen was also honored with her work with a very different demographic: elderly Holocaust survivors. Cohen worked with the Witness Project, a UJA Federation New York project that connects Holocaust survivors with young people to share their stories.

Caroline Faber won her award for creating Craft with Me, a virtual arts and crafts program for children living in homeless shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, and Wheels Up, a virtual travel experience program for pediatric oncology patients. Similar to Levine, Faber also volunteers with Sunrise Day Camp. This is not the first time Faber has been recognized for her good deeds. Faber was previously featured in ABC7 News and Newsday for creating Craft With Me and received the “Hero of the Year” award from Sunrise Day Camp.

According to Risa Rogers, one of the 2024 Good Deed Award recipients and a junior at Schechter School of LI Williston Park, this year’s 31 award recipients were selected from more than a thousand nominees.

Award recipients expressed gratitude and excitement for winning the award, with students like Westbury High School’s Skylar Belcher describing the feeling of winning the award as “unreal.”

Many students, such as Samiha Khan of Westbury High School, said that this award motivates them to keep making a difference in their community. “This acknowledgment motivated me to continue my work with renewed vigor and serves as a reminder of the importance of service and solidarity,” Khan said. “Ultimately, this award is a testament to the power of community action and the difference we can make together.”

This year’s awards were dedicated to the memories of Brian Harley Assa, Tara Lippin, and David L. Snyder, Esq.

Rabbi Perl established the awards in 1994 during what he considered “increasing chaos in school environments.” Rabbi Perl says that media coverage of young people at the time seemed to skew negative. He said that any positive coverage focused on their academic and athletic achievements, not on the strength of their character.

“I want the community to see and focus on the simple good deeds of teens,” Perl said.

Rabbi Perl led the ceremony, and additional awards were presented by “VIP Presenters,” including Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Director of Office of Immigrant Affairs Sylvia Finkelstein, and other members of local government. “This year’s honorees are once again a reminder of the selfless nature of the majority of youth and the endless value of this ongoing program—socially, educationally, culturally,” Rabbi Perl said.

The full list of 2024 award recipients includes: Caroline Faber, Isabel Levine, Benjamin Rabinovich, and Emma Cohen of Roslyn High School, Joleen Shau, Jolie Yablon, Ellie Gelman, Jacklyn Brown, Daniel Nam, Sarah Lieberman, Matthew Row, and Samantha Weiner of John F. Kennedy High School of Bellmore, Mason Luskoff and Sophia Jones of Sanford Calhoun High School, Aneesah Ahmed, Ashley Perez-Cortez, Skylar Belcher, Samiha Khan, and Michael Hernandez of Westbury High School, Daniella Nissim and Danielle Gardner of Great Neck North High School, Heidi (Tsai He) Yu of Manhasset Secondary School, Christina Contoudis of Locust Valley High School, Christina Gabayan of West Hempstead Secondary School, Kirpa Kaur of Mineola High School, Brielle Kirkland of Kellenberg Memorial High School, James Tullo of Wantagh High School, Luciano DiSalvio of Valley Stream High School, Risa Rogers of Schechter School of Long Island Williston Park, Sofie Glassman of East Meadow High School, and Mia Savino of Floral Park Memorial High School.

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