Masuk graduate is among CFJ’s Youth Volunteers of the Year

Rachel Kushel, left with from left, Rebecca "Becca" Kushel, CFJ CEO Debra Greenwood, Theresa Oleyar, Aly Oleyar and Elaine Carvalho (Aly’s grandmother).

The Center for Family Justice is thrilled to announce two area students as its first Youth Volunteers of the Year – Rebecca Kushel of Fairfield and Aly Oleyar of Monroe.

Kushel and Oleyar, who both graduated from local high schools in June, have been dedicated volunteers for CFJ, helping out at events and working on advocacy campaigns.

Their compassion for others and hard work are an inspiration, according to Debra Greenwood, CFJ’s president and CEO. Greenwood said she wanted to specifically recognize The center’s younger volunteers.

“Young people like Aly and Becca are the leaders of their generation,” Greenwood said. “They provide that inspiration for other people their age to get involved in community service. They have done so much good work for CFJ.”

Kushel, a graduate of Fairfield Warde High School, has spent many an afternoon after school at CFJ helping with a variety of tasks. She helped with mailings, putting together informational packets, organizing donations for CFJ’s client food closet, and volunteering at events such as the annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes® event.

“I love volunteering at CFJ because I think that CFJ’s mission is so important and makes such a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people,” Kushel said.

Kushel is always responsive to requests for help with different projects, making room for volunteering  between her studies, being captain of Fairfield Warde’s swim team, and being involved in many other extracurricular activities, including Model UN, Principal’s Council, and five National Honor Societies (Spanish, English, Math, Science, and National Honor Society), according to Greenwood.

Kushel will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, where she will major in History and minor in Legal Studies on a prelaw track.

Oleyar, a graduate of Masuk High School in Monroe, would come to CFJ as part of her Capstone senior project. She worked with both the Campus Advocacy unit and the Philanthropy team. She participated in specific advocacy campaigns, all focused on raising awareness about healthy relationships in her age group.

Oleyar assisted with the first regional domestic violence vigil at the Amphitheater in Bridgeport last October and completed a Red Lips campaign at Masuk. She also helped with the preparation of CFJ’s Women’s History Month event: “Women Rock!”, a benefit concert at StageOne in Fairfield, also volunteering at the event.

A captain for the Masuk High School Dance Team, Oleyar is also a member of the National Honor Society, is the Senior Class Historian for at Masuk, and has attended multiple mission trips through Monroe Congregational Church. She has also danced with CT Dance in Monroe for 13 years.

“I have gained insight into what people go through and how the staff at CFJ help clients of all ages,” Oleyar said.

She will attend Florida State University where she plans on studying human development.

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