Samantha Distler, Beth Gordon and Aliza Bloostein all of Needham, received the Needham Youth Services Ray of Hope award for outstanding community service at a ceremony at Needham Town Hall in March 2012. Presenting the award is Jon Mattleman (far left), director of Needham Youth Services, and Matthew Carson, Needham Business Association representative.  Created by the Needham Youth Services in partnership with the Needham Business Association, the RAY of Hope Program (Recognize A Youth) was designed to identify young people who have performed outstanding service to the Needham community and who by their actions are excellent role models for their peers. The three girls, all swimmers on the JCC Karishim Swim Team at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, held a swim-a-thon in 2010 that raised $6000 to help disaster relief work in Haiti after the earthquake. The girls are proud to have inspired the team to do what has since become an annual swim-a-thon supporting communities in need.  Based on the success of the Haiti swim-a-thon, the three friends participated in another swim-a-thon with their swim team to benefit a Japan relief fund that aided Tsunami victims.


Congratulations to Samantha Distler, Beth Gordon, and Aliza Bloostein on your award and your dedication to helping others.