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Date: Fri 29-May-1998



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Date: Fri 29-May-1998

Publication: Bee

Author: KAAREN

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NYS Presents Gail Smith Awards

(with photo)

For the eighth year, Newtown Youth Services has presented the Gail Smith

Awards to those in the community who have worked to improve the quality of

life of the youth in Newtown. This year's winners, Barbara Reilly, Kelly

Clark, Kristin Jeffe, and The Drug Center Pharmacy, were honored in ceremonies

on May 18.

Persons and organizations who embody the ideals of the late Gail Smith,

teacher, mentor, and advocate for many youth programs during her lifetime, are

nominated for the annual award. Each year the winners have included an adult,

a young person, and, since 1994, a business or organization.

"During her years here in Newtown, Barbara Reilly has been a Girl Scout troop

leader, a member of the board of directors of Newtown Youth Services,

chairperson of the Children's Hope Fund, and a Red Cross trainer for CPR,

first aid and AIDS training," said Rosemary Cavanaugh, middle school nurse who

nominated Mrs Reilly for the award.

She has spent countless hours designing and sewing costumes for middle school

and high school plays. A school nurse, she provides CPR training for school

staff and coaches, and recertification training of CPR for eighth graders. At

Head O'Meadow School, she established a Health Day and volunteered to teach in

the classrooms. At the middle school, she has volunteered her time to run

groups about health issues. She volunteered at NYS Family Bike Days to fit

helmets and instruct in safety.

Active in bringing the AIDS quilt to Newtown, she is a dedicated HIV/AIDS

instructor. She also is an active member of the Juvenile Review Board, an

alternative to juvenile court for youth under age 16 arrested for the first


An honor student at Newtown High School, Kristin Jeffe is the job bank

coordinator for NYS. She has served as co-chairperson of the NYS advisory

board and co-chaired the NYS Creating AIDS Awareness for Peers (NYCAAP)

program for the past three years, volunteering 216 hours for the youth of


She was nominated for the award by Newtown High School guidance counselor John

W. Quinlan who noted that she was co-captain of the high school's Markettes,

and was selected for the Spanish Honor Society award. She won an All-American

Dance Award, earned the 1997 Outstanding Youth Award at the high school, and

the Connecticut Health Commissioner's AIDS Leadership Award.

Kelly Clark has been co-chairperson of NYCAAP for the past two years. During

this past year, she has served as co-chair of the Youth Advisory Board and on

the NYS Board of Director.

"When no one was able to volunteer for an event or activity, such as

babysitting for the DARE program, Kelly would volunteer," said Pat Marshall,

fifth grade teacher at Head O'Meadow School. "She spent long, hot hours

preparing for Remembering Alex , the NYCAAP video. She and her friend Kristin

spent hours organizing, volunteering and caring."

This year's Gail Smith Award for a business that has contributed to the

betterment of youth in the community was accepted by pharmacist Don Bates on

behalf of The Drug Center.

Earlier this year, Mr Bates made the decision to stop selling tobacco products

in his store, a strong, protective gesture for the health of young people and


Mr Bates has been involved in many activities for youth, sponsoring baseball,

softball, and field hockey teams, and donating to countless youth functions in

town. He also has participated in the high school work experience program, as

well as offering free faxing service for anyone looking for a job. He

participated in the Get Lynn A Van program. He operates an Adopt a Fish

program that allows children to bring in fish that they can no longer care for

and gives them a chance to visit the fish in their new home in the store.

On Halloween every year, he rents costumes for his employees and hosts a party

at the store from 11 am to 6 pm for children, giving out candy and other

treats to children who stop by. Both as an employer and as a member of the

community, Mr Bates has made, and continues to make, a significant

contribution to the youth of Newtown, according to the award nomination.

Comments are open. Be civil.

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