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Carlton High School student earn volunteerism award

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration recently presented its Annual Excellence Award to Emily Matlack, a Carlton High School junior.

The MAVA Awards for Excellence in Volunteerism recognize Minnesota volunteers who have distinguished accomplishments and have shown extraordinary interest in the area of volunteerism. These volunteers, through their personal examples, demonstrate the impact volunteers can have on the improvement of their community through an outstanding commitment to volunteerism.

Since sixth grade, Matlack has been volunteering in the Carlton community through highway cleanups, bell ringing for Salvation Army, teaching skiing and swimming, promoting anti-smoking, helping at church and many other good works.

When Carlton County created a program called TXT4LIFE where students can text if they are having suicidal thoughts, Matlack signed up to help develop a program with other 10th-graders by educating themselves and others about suicide prevention.

Matlack also received a grant from Disney's Friends for Change to fund a safety program of her own design called DRV TXT FREE. She arranged for a Carlton County deputy to speak about the dangers of texting and driving to all of the 11th- and 12th-grade students and organized a safety fair for students in grades 6-8.

"Emily brings hope to our community," commented advisor Deb Saunders.

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) has more than 800 members across the state of Minnesota. Founded in 2001, it is an alliance of individuals and networks dedicated to providing support and resources to those who lead volunteers. MAVA ( unites administrators of structured volunteer programs and informal volunteer initiatives, as well as those who have an interest in promoting volunteerism across the state. MAVA members represent all sectors of society including faith communities, health care, social services, education, government, grassroots organizations and more.