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Connie Charitonuk leads community service projects through SGA at Youth's Benefit Elementary

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Sep 29, 2023

FALLSTON, Md. — As the gifted and talented teacher at Youth's Benefit Elementary, Connie Charitonuk is use to working with small groups of students throughout the day.

When she's wearing her Student Government Association (SGA) adviser hat, her work usually involves the entire school.

"One of the main ideas we try to foster is a sense of community. So we can plant a seed and as they get older, they recognize that there’s a need," she said.

Charitonuk has worked at Youth's Benefit for 30 years and has always served with the SGA in that time. She leads the students in coming up with monthly community service projects.

"All you have to do is give them the opportunity and they will rise to the occasion. It really is setting the goal, how can we get to it, let’s go," she said.

They work with national and local charities. One project that goes year-long is collecting soda tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. The charity sells the tabs and uses the money to help cover costs for families who stay with them.

The SGA also does food drives, collects pet supplies for Fairy Tails Rescue and diapers for the Judy Center. And if the students come up with an idea, Charitonuk says they'll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

"To have them rise to the occasion, it's just heart warming to see how much they can do and the power behind that," she said.

The SGA is already mapping out their projects for the year, including a food drive and collecting toys for kids in need during the holidays.