HEART TO SERVE: Eastern Hancock junior selected for philanthropic award

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Griffin Lawrence, a junior at Eastern Hancock High School, was recently named this year’s Martha Beckenholdt Youth Philanthropy Award recipient by the Community Foundation of Hancock County. Pictured from left to right are: Eastern Hancock Education Foundation president Johnna Bridges, parents Bobbie and Jon Lawrence, Griffin and community foundation president Mary Gibble.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Griffin Lawrence is a busy young man, and many of his activities are geared toward giving back to the community.

The Eastern Hancock High School junior was recently named this year’s Martha Beckenholdt Youth Philanthropy Award recipient.

Each year, the Community Foundation of Hancock County selects a local high school junior for the award, which memorializes the late philanthropist Martha Beckenholdt, a longtime Hancock County resident who lived a life of charitable giving.

Each recipient is given the opportunity to donate $1,000 to the Hancock County nonprofit organization or agency of their choice.

Griffin donated his award to the Eastern Hancock Education Foundation’s Green Team Program, an initiative he and some of his classmates created to encourage recycling within the school district.

“It is not a surprise that Griffin is an award winner for youth philanthropy,” said Adam Barton, principal at Eastern Hancock High School. “He is heavily involved in a number of activities at Eastern Hancock and is a great representative of our student body. Griffin is on a number of boards and committees and continues to challenge himself with a rigorous course schedule as well.”

The signature line on Griffin’s student email account includes a long list of activities and accomplishments at the school: Y-GIVE board member; student council treasurer; VOICE core leader; National Honor Society treasurer; Band Leadership Council member; Student Advisory Board member, and Green Team president.

His list of activities outside the school is also impressive.

Griffin volunteers weekly at the Hancock County Food Pantry and Hancock Regional Hospital, and has also volunteered for Greenfield Head Start program, which promotes school readiness in children up to age 5 from low-income families.

“I try to volunteer all around my community and help as many people as I can because I know that everyone should be willing to dedicate some time to those around them,” he said.

According to the community foundation, Griffin is the perfect example of a Martha Beckenholdt award winner — someone who has contributed outstanding time, talent, and energy to philanthropic endeavors.

He was nominated for the award by Lorrie Edwards, who teaches visual arts at Eastern Hancock High School.

“Griffin impresses me with his compassion, thoughtfulness and all of the committees he serves on, all of his extracurricular activities and his multiple, weekly volunteerism,” said Edwards, who is also impressed by her student’s passion to make his community a better place.