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Shaler junior earns 2013 National Globechanger award

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
Pine Creek Journal
Alexis Werner, second from the left, poses with Jim McDonald, of BNY Mellon, Sam Beard, founder of Jefferson Awards for Public Service and Dana Resciniti, the regional director for the Jefferson Awards program, at the annual awards presentation. Werner, a junior at Shaler Area High School, is one of this year’s winners of the national Globechanger award for her Seeds of Hope program. Submitted

Alexis Werner, a junior at Shaler Area High School, will join an elite group of young people recognized for making a difference in the world.

On Wednesday, March 6, Werner will be presented with the 2013 National Globechanger award for her work with Seeds of Hope, a student-led organization she co-founded to raise awareness of issues veterans face upon returning home.

“I'm still trying to comprehend it,” Werner said about receiving the award. “There's no other way to explain it. There are so many great teenagers doing so many great things, to be at the top is amazing because I'm nowhere close to where I want to be.”

Werner is one of three young people being presented with the award, sponsored by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, founded in 1972 to recognize community service, and the only high school student.

“We are looking for kids who are making a difference and what they are doing jumps off the page,” said Diana Sherbacow, national director of the Jefferson Awards. “Globechangers is really about young people who have an idea and take that idea and take it regionally, nationally or globally.”

Werner helped to start Seeds of Hope in 2011 to create “victory gardens” to benefit veterans and their families with fresh produce. Werner was inspired to reach out to the veteran community after seeing her mother's and stepfather's experiences returning from the Air Force Reserves and active Army duty, respectively.

“It's not always easy coming home,” Werner said. “It's not like you see in the movies.”

Since the program started, it has expanded to create more awareness for veterans' issues. The organization is working to publish a children's book, organize fundraising events and create a documentary of veterans' stories.

Werner and the Seeds of Hope program has garnered regional attention and awards since it started, but this is the first time the program will be honored on the national level.

“She has done such a tremendous job, she has come up through the ranks in our students initiatives,” said Dana Resciniti, regional director of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. “She is the perfect example of how our student initiatives work … and what one student is able to accomplish.”

Werner said she hopes the Globechanger award only will propel the program forward toward her goal of taking Seeds of Hope national.

“I want it to be a national program,” she said. “I want it to be in as many states as want us.”

Werner will be recognized and receive a Globechangers award medallion at an awards ceremony held at The Pierre Hotel, in New York City.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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