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Horace Greeley Senior Recognized for Charity Work

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Horace Greeley High School senior Charlotte Bilski has hobbies just like any other teenager. The only difference for Bilski is that her hobbies have recently earned her recognition from the White House.

The Brown University-bound student, who often spends her free time performing charity work, was recently featured on the White House's "For the Win" blog, which focuses on the initiatives taken by young Americans.

Bilski's latest initiative is working for Afya, a Yonkers-based nonprofit organization that collects and donates unused medical supplies to Third World countries. She first came across Afya as a sophomore while working with J-Teen, a Jewish teen community service and advocacy group.

"We do a lot of varying community service projects. And one of them was going to Afya," Bilski said. "And that's really how I found it, and from there I just had a certain connection with it."

According to Bilski, regulations force hospitals to throw away supplies, used or unused, after a certain amount of time. Afya, which means good health in Swahili, collects the supplies before they can be discarded.

"The founder of Afya used to work in the health care field and she saw this happening all the time," Bilski said. "After I guess she no longer worked in health care she realized she should do something about it."

Bilski was also recognized for her work in 2011 when Parade Magazine selected her for its All-America High School Service Team, an award recognizing young community service leaders. Only 15 Americans are selected for the team annually.

Bilski will continue her work for Afya in May as part of Greeley's Senior Experience Program, which allows her to intern with the organization full-time for an entire month.

"I'm just doing it for fun," said Bilski, who will receive no credit for the internship. "You can apply and you can do an internship instead of staying in school and just kind of hanging in there."

During the internship, Bilski will be working at local children's hospitals, and creating arts and crafts programs for children undergoing chemotherapy.

"One of the arts and crafts projects is for you to make a necklace, and design the necklace and attach a pen to the necklace," Bilski said. "And the necklaces with pens will be sent down to the doctors in Haiti."

Read a first-hand account of Bilski's experience with Afya on the White House's blog .

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