Blake Passaro may only be nine years old but when it comes to giving back to his community he's setting an amazing example for both his peers and the older generation in demonstrating true empathy and doing for others.
Passaro was recently honored by the Town of Islip for his extensive community service, which includes collecting books and toys for children at Stony Brook Hospital twice a year, volunteering to mentor autistic children during his school day recess period and serving as a junior firefighter in the West Sayville Fire Department.
He’s raised $1,100 for Relay for Life by raffling off a Kohl’s Care contest gift card award he had won as well as Model’s points he had collected.
And he’s done it all without anyone’s suggestion, according to his mom Melissa Bartell.
“He did all this on his own,” Bartell said, adding that it’s likely Blake’s compassion partly stems from having to deal with some serious challenges in his own lifetime. An aunt has battled cancer, and Bartell has beaten a brain tumor.
“I think dealing with that [the health situations faced by family members] made him understand that many people are dealing with challenges and everyone could use help,” she said.
Blake’s town citation was the result of how his compassion for others, and the way he coped with his mother’s illness, made a lasting impression on a teacher he had for second grade. The teacher, Patricia Krawczyk, shared Blake’s efforts with town officials, as she believed his efforts should be commended.
“It came as a surprise to all of us for him to get such special recognition,” said his mom.