2008 Matthew Wiederkehr Leadership Award - Morgan Procida

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In many ways, Morgan Procida is like other healthy, active and happy seventeen-year-olds. A junior at Old Tappan High School, New Jersey, she participates in three varsity sports, is a member of the Italian Club and belongs to Volunteen, a group that encourages children to volunteer. Her expansive smile and twinkling blue eyes are the outward reflection of a deeply caring individual who is loved by her peers.

In other ways, Morgan is anything but typical. This past spring, Matt’s Promise created an award to recognize her amazing volunteer efforts and leadership skills in launching the inaugural Memory Run. Morgan was so moved by the mission, vision, and goals of Matt’s Promise that she decided to do her part by organizing the run in honor of her family friend Mike LaViola, who passed away from cancer in February 2008.

It is an understatement to say that the Memory Run was a success. From organizing the details around township approvals to obtaining sponsorship and identifying a venue for the run, Morgan showed incredible maturity and skill. Her ability to ignite passion and enthusiasm in everyone around her helped to draw more than three hundred people to the run on Sunday, April 13, 2008, and we raised more than $40,000.

Congratulations to Morgan Procida on being the first recipient of the Matthew Wiederkehr Leadership Award.