For Brooke and Brittany Boetticher, commitment to service seems to run in the family. The two teenage sisters, first began serving their community by donating canned goods as a part of their Sunday school program at Hurdtown United Methodist Church of Lake Hopatcong. Soon they were making sandwiches for the Bridge Run and collecting donations for the food pantry at the grocery store.
“I have taught them that we are here to help each other,” said Janet Boetticher, the girls’ mother. “It is not all about us, that we are God’s children and this is what he wants us to do. They love it so much and are excited to help others.”
Now, after dedicating countless hours of time and effort to their local community, both Brooke and Brittany have been honored with awards for their service.
Brooke Boetticher, a student at Centenary College, was recently awarded the Don Brown Memorial Scholarship for her volunteer service and commitment to CUMAC, a non-profit organization in Paterson that works to alleviate hunger in local communities.
The Don Brown Memorial Scholarship is an educational award of $500 to students who are pursuing a career in ministry, human services, or a related field. Eligible applicants must be high school seniors or current college students, and they must show a commitment to CUMAC’s mission “to feed people and change lives.”
Brooke was awarded the scholarship at the 18th Annual HELP Dinner and Silent Auction, an annual fundraising event that honors CUMAC’s supporters and volunteers.
“My volunteer work has allowed me to see that even though my life has difficulties, there are many more people who need help even more than I do,” said Brooke. “It also helps me realize just how many people are helping me out, and helps me appreciate the blessings and help that I have much more.”
Brittany Boetticher, a freshman at Jefferson Township High School, recently was named “Top Youth Volunteer of the Year” by her high school as a part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
As a Girl Scout, Brittany leads a troop for younger Girl Scouts whose families face financial hardship and are therefore unable to pay the traditional membership fees. She also worked with fellow Girl Scouts to restore a local campfire pit at a town camp, which earned her the Silver Award, the second highest honor the Girl Scouts of America bestows and the highest award that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.
Brittany’s service work extends to several other community organizations, including Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, the Jefferson Township Municipal Alliance, and, like her sister Brooke, CUMAC.
“Volunteering makes me feel good knowing that I am actually making a difference in the lives of children in my community and even around the world,” said Brittany. “Each time I volunteer, I learn something new.”
For both sisters, their commitment to service has been inspired by their United Methodist faith. Their upbringing and involvement in the Hurdtown UMC community has taught them the importance of serving others.
“I remember learning, when I was confirmed, that an integral part of being a United Methodist is one’s service,” Brooke said. “It’s something that I feel I need to do to share God’s love with people.”