Novi resident Andrew Carlone dreams of becoming a surgeon someday, and even though he is only a junior at , he has already begun showing leadership in the medical field.
This holiday season, Carlone organized a gift-wrapping booth at Laurel Park Place to fundraise for the Hope Clinic, a free Christian medical center that offers help for people without health insurance.
From Black Friday through Christmas Eve, Carlone managed to recruit 420 volunteers to devote more than 350 hours at the mall to wrap more than 5,000 presents.
After all the expenses were accounted for, Carlone was able to give Hope Clinic $16,000.
Finding the right cause
Carlone started the fundraiser after he returned from a one-month service trip in Ecuador in 2010 with the Youth Ambassador Program, put on by Partners of the Americas. Upon his return, he and the other students were each given $1,000 to start their own service project in their local communities.
Carlone knew he wanted to give back to the medical field, and his mom, Tamara Carlone, heard about Hope Clinic from a doctor at their church.
“We visited the clinic and knew the money would be going to a good cause,” Andrew Carlone said.
The money raised by Carlone will help the Hope Clinic move to a new location in Westland after the in December 2010 caused major structural damage to the clinic’s Wayne location.
On Tuesday, Carlone presented a check to Mary Dekker, the Wayne location's clinic coordinator, at the site of his gift-wrapping station at Laurel Park Place.
Organizing the project
Carlone spent nearly a year planning for the service project.
His mother said that they were extremely nervous at the beginning when they realized they had nearly 400 hours to fill and zero volunteers to help out.
Carlone stepped up to the challenge, making presentations to groups, talking to students and calling up church members to help. Students from Northville High School, Novi High School, Livonia Franklin, Churchill High School, Ladywood High School, Mercy High School and several local church members all volunteered a total of 1,826 hours.
“It was a great experience. I learned a lot about leadership and got to meet a lot of great people,” Carlone said.
Jan Watkins, the president of the Michigan Chapter of Partners of Americas, said she was surprised by how much money Carlone made and that he has really raised the bar for leadership in the Youth Ambassador Program.
“He is a pretty amazing young man,” she said.