By Becky Harvey
Eighth grade Dudley Middle Schooler, Jordan Blackadar was presented a certificate by the Superintendent of Schools at the last Dudley-Charlton School Committee meeting in recognition of his efforts to collect coats for the needy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, last fall. Blackadar and fellow classmate Matthew Mackay (pictured at the committee meeting,) have both been selected by the John F. Kennedy Library to receive Make a Difference awards. “The Kennedy Library annually recognizes up to 100 middle school students from across Massachusetts with the John F. Kennedy Make a Difference Award for the impact they have made in their communities through service projects,” according to the library’s website. The Library selects recipients based on nominations from teachers, principals and local community leaders. Both Blackadar and Mackay have each been invited to a ceremony at the Library on April 9th, along with a number of other middle-schoolers from around the Commonwealth who have made efforts to change the world and make it better for people.
Blackadar is humbled by the award. He was motivated to action when he noticed that the local Aubuchon Hardware store was running a coat drive for Hurricane Sandy victims. It got him thinking about all the coats, outgrown and unworn, that he had lying around his home. He realized that if he had so many, there must be many other students who also had spare outerwear. A few weeks before Christmas break in December, Blackadar got permission from the school to coordinate a drive.
“I thought I could make such a difference. I was just so happy that the kids at my school could get it together like that. I was also happy that Mrs. Laporte let us keep all the coats we collected in her room. I wouldn’t have had the space to keep them all,” stated Blackadar. “We got ninety-eight coats in just two weeks. The kids really pulled it together. I was just so glad I could make a difference.”
Though in the end, the coats didn’t make it to his originally intended destination of New York, Blackadar was happy that all of the collected coats were distributed to people in need in his local area. “A lot of people up here [Massachusetts] were hit hard by the hurricane as well. So it was nice that I could help people near me,” said Blackadar. His drive didn’t end in time to make the transport to New York, but all the coats were sent to a Worcester area shelter and he was assured that hurricane victims from this area would greatly benefit from his efforts.