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Star Citizens: August, 2013

by Editorial Staff--Suburban Family Magazine

Sara O’Brien, Bridget O’Brien Mink and Katie O’Brien Vogel
The O’Brien sisters (pictured) turned their mother’s battle with breast cancer into an inspirational story after creating an annual benefit in five cities to raise money for other breast cancer patients. The Breast Fest event has turned into The Tyanna Foundation, named in memory of the O’Brien sisters’ mother, and has raised more than $1 million for the cause. The event itself is a celebration of life and the money raised goes to treatment and comfort funds for women currently battling breast cancer.

Ben Kieserman
Cherry Hill
Kieserman recently participated in Bike4Chai, a two-day, 175-mile bike ride from the Jersey Shore to Camp Simcha in New York. The ride, which generated $1.8 million in 2012, benefits ill children from Chai Lifeline, and all the funds raised allow the young boys and girls to go to summer camp, an experience they may not have been able to participate in otherwise.

Meredith McBride
Medford’s McBride was crowned the Burlington County Farm Fair Queen. Judges attribute her victory to her poise, speaking ability and smile. As a requirement in the competition, each contestant had to state her motivation for being queen, display her public speaking ability by answering questions before the judges, and demonstrate her writing skills in an essay submitted before the pageant.

Ian Laperriere
Former Philadelphia Flyer and Haddonfield resident Laperriere will compete in his first Ironman triathlon this month to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, and the Go4theGoal Foundation-Tunes4Teens. Laperriere’s goal is to raise $10,000 for the organizations. The triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

Matthew Ernandes and Margaret “Peg” Meehan
Mount Laurel, Clayton
Ernandes, of Mount Laurel, and Meehan, of Clayton, were two of the six professionals honored with the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials’ Distinguished Service Award. Ernandes has served as the business administrator and board secretary for the North Hanover School District—in which half the schools are located on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst—since 1996, after working as Bordentown Township’s township administrator. Meehan is Washington Township’s business administrator, a position she’s had since 1994.

Robert S. Baranowski Jr.
Baranowski, an attorney at Hyland Levin, LLP, will become the new chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Land Use Law Section, following his turn as vice chair of this section over the past year. The purpose of the Land Use Law Section is to observe and apply advancements in land use law and keep bar association members up to date on related changes. Specifically, Baranowski’s practice is focused on land use and environmental issues.

Emma Bowers, Grace Buss, Danielle Lawrie, Evan Siegel and Angela Taylor
Burlington County
Bowers, Buss, Lawrie, Siegel and Taylor were recently recognized by the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program for their service to their communities. They were among the 74 in New Jersey and more than 2,300 across the U.S. recognized for their unique charitable endeavors, which include creating nonprofit organizations to help those in need, organizing food drives, and teaching art skills to others. The students received $50 gift cards, recognition certificates and qualification for larger prizes in the future.

Luke Magette
Inspired by a video he saw in his enrichment class where the Redpepper marketing company made a QR code for Oreos out of the cookies, Magette decided to create a QR code for LEGO out of the building blocks themselves. The 10-year-old student’s Osage Elementary School teacher, Leta Strain, reached out to LEGO when he was finished, with the hopes that they’ll find a way to utilize Magette’s creation.

Ian Fiedler
When he realized that many high schools do not have Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs, Fiedler, who graduated from Moorestown High School in June and founded MHS’ GSA club this year, helped initiate Kaleidoscope, judgment-free hangout sessions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals between the ages of 13 and 18 in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. The youth-led group meets monthly at The Spot Teen Center in Voorhees.

Robert Curley
Curley received the 2013 Camden County College Civic Leadership award from the Camden County College Foundation and the college’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility. Curley worked his way up the ladder at TD Bank, where he began as a teller and now works as the bank’s South Jersey market president. The Marlton businessman received the civic leadership award for his volunteer efforts with local organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County and the South Jersey Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among many others.

Christine Adams and McKenna Samson
Mount Laurel
Adams and Samson collected almost 1,100 books as part of “Project Read to Me,” their Girl Scout Silver Award Project. The two 14-year-olds from Mount Laurel’s Girl Scout Cadet Troop No. 22429 brought some of the books to the Veteran’s Memorial Family School in Camden and donated the rest to the Mount Laurel Library. The girls organized the book drive to benefit BookMates, a South Jersey literacy program.

Bethanne Pierson
Washington Township
When Pierson could not find a local support group for parents with children suffering from eating disorders, she decided to create her own. The group, which meets at Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church, offers resources and advice from those who have walked the same path some parents are walking now and aims to let parents know they are not alone.

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Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 6 (August, 2013).
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