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This Croton-Harmon Nursing Student Won a $50,000 Nonprofit Award

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High schooler Kristen Lynch is one of only 35 people recognized nationally by the New York Life Foundation’s “Love Takes Action” award.

Croton-Harmon Union Free School District announced recently that one of its students, high school senior Kristen Lynch, was one of 35 people across the U.S. chosen as a recipient of the 2020 New York Life Foundation “Love Takes Action” award for outstanding service to one’s community.

Lynch, who attends Croton-Harmon High School, is currently in a nursing training program through Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES and began volunteering weekends at the nearby Skyview nursing home pre-pandemic. Once COVID-19 struck, Lynch was offered a position and, through the spring and summer terms, continued to assist residents and other staff as they navigated virtual visits and heavy sanitization protocols for the first time.

“Volunteering changed overnight,” Lynch says, “and suddenly I was a nursing home employee during a global pandemic. As extreme infection control unfolded in front of me, I committed each protocol to memory, knowing my actions could save lives.” Months later, Lynch is still working at Skyview and taking care of residents while also planning for her future as a college nursing student.

“Nursing is a calling and Kristen showed her passion for it from day one,” says PNW BOCES Nursing Instructor Veronica Farlow. “She was determined to find a way to help during this difficult time and she did. She made this world a better place.”

Lynch was nominated for the award by Croton resident and New York Life representative Marilyn Kretzer, who praised the student for her “unflinching spirit and bravery” and exemplification of the foundation’s mission with “love in all her actions.”

As one of only 35 recipients of the award throughout the country, Lynch selected a nonprofit of her choice, the Center for Court Innovation, an NYC-based group that conducts research and helps bring about justice system reform, to donate her $50,000 grant.

Croton-Harmon High School Principal Laura Dubak says Lynch “has inspired us all with her dedication, courage and compassion during this pandemic and we couldn’t be prouder of her.”