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The Early College High School C.A.S.T. group was the recipient of the “Youth in Philanthropy” Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northeast Ohio Chapter. C.A.S.T. stands for Caring and Serving Together. The students received the honor on Nov. 2, National Philanthropy Day. They were among major philanthropists who were honored, including the LeBron James Family Foundation.

They were nominated by Angela Palomba from The First Tee of Canton who said, “The members of C.A.S.T. come together with a shared mission to strengthen community life, serve the needy in Canton and Stark County, and honor God by sharing their time, talents, and generosity.”

Many of these youth, she added, come from backgrounds where they themselves do not have a lot, but they make it a priority to commit to their community through volunteerism.

C.A.S.T. advisor Rhonda Sypek said the kids inspire her.

“In the midst of their busy high school lives, they make the time to give back to others. Serving is hard. It doesn’t fit into your neatly packaged daily plans,” she said. “These kids have been doing this for years. They are purposeful and filled with joy and they just do it, and that is inspiration for us all.”

Student members of C.A.S.T. manage the various projects in which they are involved, including coordinating projects at partner organizations and recruiting peers to be involved. In addition to The First Tee of Canton and Refuge of Hope, students volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark County, the Humane Society, Whispering Grace Horses, and Love the Children Ministries.

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