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Teenager scoops top award for charity role

PUBLISHED: 15:28 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 10:03 12 August 2010

A SCHOOLGIRL who dedicates at least five hours a week to helping people in the community has been rewarded for her work. Ruth Tewolde of Newstead Woods School for Girls, Orpington, was named as a student leader in the Bank of America Neighbourhood Excell

A SCHOOLGIRL who dedicates at least five hours a week to helping people in the community has been rewarded for her work.

Ruth Tewolde of Newstead Woods School for Girls, Orpington, was named as a student leader in the Bank of America Neighbourhood Excellence Initiative Awards at a ceremony last month.

The 18-year-old was among five students across London who were recognised for their service and rewarded with an eight-week summer internship with a local charitable organisation and an all expenses paid week-long Student Leadership Summit held in Washington DC last July.

Police cadet Miss Tewolde, from Kidbrooke, has volunteered for more than two years from helping feed patients at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, to throwing a Christmas party for elderly people in the area.

She also volunteers every Saturday morning as a Girls Leader for 'Superkids' Community Trust, children's clubs run by the Making A Difference initiative in Kidbrooke. Ruth, who juggles her voluntary work while studying maths, biology and chemistry A Level, said: "I like to volunteer because it not only benefits other people, it is a two-way thing. You get your own sense of satisfaction when working in the community.

"When you see people who could do with a helping hand it is great to see how much an hour of your time can do."

The former St Mary's and St Joseph's School, Sidcup, pupil joined four other students on a trip to Washington where she took part in a host of activities including a leadership workshop, visited Capital Hill and worked with environmentalists in the Rock Creek Park.

On the trip, she said: "It was hard work from nine to five but it inspired me to give more of my time to the community and I learned how work in the community could be improved."

On December 15, she was handed a trophy in recognition of her achievements at a ceremony at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre in London.

Tim Campbell, founder and CEO of Bright Ideas Trust, who presented this year's NEI Local Hero awards, said: "The Bank of America Neighbourhood Excellence Initiative is unique because it not only celebrates community heroes but also offers them the support and skills that help them to further develop themselves and their communities."

Deputy headteacher of Newstead Wood School Ben Greene said: "Our school mission statement embodies a determination to work in partnership with our local community and a confidence in our ability to improve our future. Ruth's commitment and work in her local community typify these aspirations and we are immensely proud of her achievement which is recognised in this award."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "London is brimming with unsung heroes who make a tremendous difference to the community. I extend my warmest congratulations to all of the winners and encourage them to keep up the good work."

Entries for this year's NEI Awards are now open.

n To enter, go to www.bankofamerica.com

/neistudentleaders and apply by February 17.

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