SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Gabriella Andrade, 12, of Carolina and Joshua Land, 18, of East Greenwich were named Rhode Island’s top youth volunteers of 2021 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, America’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.
As State Honorees, Joshua and Gabriella will each receive a $2,500 scholarship, a silver medallion and an invitation to the program’s virtual national recognition celebration in April where 10 of the 102 State Honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of the year.
Gabriella, a seventh-grader at Monsignor Clarke School, has helped her family raise more than $160,000 to fight cancer over the past five years, and launched her own fundraising effort last year by making and selling cupcakes. Gabby’s family began supporting the Jimmy Fund, which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, after her grandfather died from bladder cancer in 2016. Gabby helped out from the beginning, but in 2020, “I felt I was ready to do more,” she said. “I wanted to take the lead in making a difference!” Since she loves to bake and dreams of becoming a professional baker, Gabby came up with the idea of baking cupcakes to contribute to cancer research.
With help from her little sister, she created a business plan and persuaded her parents to cover the cost of ingredients so that 100 percent of her sales proceeds could be donated. Then she picked the best cupcake recipes from her own collection and scoured recipe books and websites to find other formulas that would appeal to a wide range of tastes. Next, she began marketing through word-of-mouth, email, school newsletters, social media and a website. Once orders are received, Gabby bakes each cupcake to the “utmost quality,” she said, and always adds some sort of special decoration like sprinkles or molded chocolates. So far, she has sold more than 300 cupcakes, raising over $1,100 for the Jimmy Fund. “It is so spectacular to think about the impact one little cupcake can make!” said Gabby.
You can help support Cupcakes for a Cause by visiting the website https://teamtriplea.com/cupcakes-for-a-cause.