is this you? Claim your profile.
is this you? Claim your profile.
+ Get 10 Free Contacts a Month
It's free and takes 30 seconds
1904 Association Dr.
The National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are the nation's premier organizations established to recognize outstanding high school and middle-school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS and NJHS serve to honor those studen... more.
Hutton plays the violin at the Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp in Great Barrington, Mass., earlier this summer. (Photo provided)
Sara Hutton of Hurley has always been an activist. Her mother Anita recalls Sara, who had heart surgery when she was 15 months old, speaking out at a walk for the American Heart Association at Dietz Stadium when she was just 7 years old. "She said, 'I'm here today to let you know that it's not only grownups who have heart problems, but kids do too! I had open heart surgery when I was 15 months old and look how strong I am today!,'" her mother said. Sara, now 17, has used that strength to raise money and help numerous organizations. Her latest effort is a benefit concert and silent auction to build a $3,000 gazebo at the Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp, which Sara has attended since she was 13. "I just want to give something back to the camp because it's given me so much," Sara said. The concert, which Sara calls "Music From the Heart," is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Sunday, Aug. 9, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 206 Albany Ave., in Kingston. Sara said the camp in Great Barrington, Mass., only has a swing set, and the children would love a place of their own. "Right now there's really no closed environment where we can just go and be with the rest of the kids without any counselors around," she said. "I was hoping that this would give them a space to kind of be away that's still safe and protected where they can be seen but not heard." Sara said she stays in contact with fellow campers during the year. "It's been great to see other kids that have had the same surgery as me and how they're dealing with it," she said. "Interacting with them kind of shows me how I can deal with having my surgery, even though it was a long time ago." Sara was just 8 weeks old when she went in for a routine checkup and doctors heard a heart murmur. She was diagnosed with having a hole between the two bottom ventricles of her heart. When she suffered what doctors thought was an eating disorder, Anita Hutton thought it was something more. She and her husband, John, drove immediately to Boston Children's Hospital, where Sara underwent open-heart surgery. Sara has been fine ever since and has no restrictions on her lifestyle. "I can go on roller coasters and I can play sports whenever I want," she said. "I can basically do whatever I want to do." Sara and her mother agreed that her past medical issues have given her a "heart" to help others. "I think being sickly as a child so much had a lot to do with her inspiration in helping children," her mother said. The list of organizations and projects Sara is involved in is impressive and long. She works in daycare every day at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Hurley. She then focuses on her fund-raising activities for groups like the American Heart Association and one of its affiliated national groups, Mending Hearts Inc. She organizes a team teach year for the organization's fund-raising walk. "That's what she does every day," her mother said. "She goes to work, I pick her up, and we go to businesses or she passes out fliers." When the bad economy slowed donations to one of her causes, Anita Hutton recalled how Sara said it was "unacceptable" and stormed out of the house to solicit door to door in her Rolling Meadows neighborhood. "Sara came back and had a couple of hundred dollars on her," she said. "She's really outdoing herself with this gazebo project, but this is where her passion lies. That camp meant a lot to her." Sara also has developed some unique fund-raising tactics. When she was in the third grade, she heard a story about a boy who delivered newspapers, and it sparked an idea. "That kind of got me thinking that I could start my own newspaper and use it to raise money for other groups," she said. The newspaper originally had 50 subscribers and she charged 50 cents a copy. It was hand-written (it's now done via computer) and included a commentary from Sara, the weather and interviews with new neighbors or others she felt had something to say. She even included ads. Sara would give the money to organizations, but, in recent years, she used the money to buy a new violin to help with her fundraising. Last year, Sara played her violin for 10 consecutive hours at the Hudson Valley Mall to help raise money for orphans in the African country of Tanzania. Her church, St. John's Episcopal in Kingston, sponsored 70 orphans in the village of Nala and raised $25,000 for a library there; Sara sponsors an orphan each month on her own and helped decorate 70 gift bags her mother and her 19-year-old sister, Lauren, delivered last year. Sara, who also has a younger brother, 14-year-old Chris, was too young to go, but she put donation cans near the registers in the Kingston High School cafeteria to help raise money. "When I saw the pictures that my Mom brought back, it really touched me that these kids had so little and were so happy with just having so little and it made me want to do something for them," Sara said. Sara's generosity also involves just plain kindness. She named her orphan Stella after a woman she used to know at a local nursing home. Sara plays her violin at Ten Broeck Commons nursing home and the Ulster County Infirmary. Said her mother, "The violin has been her best friend. She plays it everywhere for people to enjoy." Sara, a member of the Spanish Honor Society and National Honor Society, is also involved in the Kingston High School Orchestra and Key Club. She also sings with the College Youth Symphony at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She also may use her career to help people. Sara has been considering attending Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., The College of St. Rose in Albany and Emmanuel College in Boston to study education. After a recent visit to Boston Children's Hospital, however, she may become a child life specialist or an early education teacher. "I just like to do things for other people," she said. "It's actually mostly fun for me. You would think that doing all of this stuff isn't fun, but my Mom and I have had a lot of fun. "Every time I get a donation, it makes me happy because I'm one step closer to finishing the project," Sara added. " I am her uncle, and all I can say is Sara is a real trooper! She will be a positive force for many people for years to come. GO SARA! Uncle Bill " We thank you Sara for your tireless, efforts for others.