DO-GOODER

Maxwell Sarkissian, Wyckoff

201 Family - - CONTENTS - – DEIRDRE FLANA­GAN WARD

Most 7th graders spend their sum­mer en­joy­ing the abun­dance of free time and typ­i­cal sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties. Not the case with 12-year-old Maxwell Sarkissian, a 7th grader at Eisen­hower Mid­dle School in Wyckoff, who de­cided to make his sum­mer a bit more in­ter­est­ing and mean­ing­ful by help­ing oth­ers.

He started a busi­ness called Max’s Help­ing Hands with the in­tent to help lo­cal neigh­bors with small projects, such as land­scap­ing, lawn main­te­nance and mail col­lec­tion, while away on va­ca­tion. How­ever Sarkissian’s mis­sion, and his small busi­ness, soon grew into a big­ger en­deavor. In ad­di­tion to help­ing out in his lo­cal com­mu­nity he also de­cided to take on rais­ing funds for wor­thy causes and help­ing those less for­tu­nate.

“I knew I wanted to start a busi­ness this past sum­mer and thought that it would be a good idea to give back to kids who have less than me, since I re­ally don’t need any­thing,” Sarkissian says.

In­spired by his mother and grand­mother, Sarkissian fo­cused on mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in Pater­son. “My mom works with the City of Pater­son em­ploy­ees and has been help­ing them for many years, and I knew, by go­ing with her a few times to fam­i­lies that we help there, that they do not have very much at all,” he says. “My grand­mother, who grew up in Pater­son, and was a teacher, sug­gested I give to kids my age through school sup­plies. I thought that was a good idea and some­thing I could do.”

Sum­mer came to a close, but Sarkissian’s busi­ness and mis­sion con­tin­ued to grow. De­spite the de­mands of school, sports and re­li­gious and club ac­tiv­i­ties, Sarkissian pushed for­ward do­ing all he could in his spare time.

His achieve­ments did not go un­no­ticed and soon he gained the sup­port of friends. “I didn’t think I would get such a great re­sponse,” he says. “I had no idea how many peo­ple would sup­port me when I started. I was sur­prised. There was noth­ing neg­a­tive that I heard from any­one. In­stead, peo­ple were very pos­i­tive and sup­port­ive. Some­times they would pay me dou­ble, just be­cause they knew I what I was do­ing. Ev­ery­one was very nice and loved my idea.”

To date, Sarkissian has pre­sented $500 worth of pens, pen­cils, note­books, white boards and erasers to School No. 12, a K-8 school in Pater­son.

“Shop­ping for all the sup­plies and de­liv­er­ing them that day to the school, it made me feel like I did some­thing that made a dif­fer­ence,” he says. “I had no bumps in the road. It was just a lot of work!”

Prin­ci­pal An­dre S. McCol­lum Sr. grate­fully ac­cepted Sarkissian’s do­na­tion and said the items, many on his teach­ers’ wish list for their stu­dents, would make their abil­ity to teach that much eas­ier. He also en­cour­aged Sarkissian to con­tinue his good deeds to­ward oth­ers and hoped this was just the be­gin­ning of his sup­port to those in need.

“I have not com­pletely de­cided how I am go­ing to pro­ceed. I am think­ing about ask­ing the school for some­thing they need that is big, for ex­am­ple, bas­ket­ball hoops on their play­ground, and just aiming for that goal,” Sarkissian says.

His ad­vice for other kids is that ev­ery­one can take some ini­tia­tive to help oth­ers.

“Use your ex­tra time in the sum­mer to make a dif­fer­ence. Any­one can do it. It made me feel that, even though I am only 12, you can still help other peo­ple, no mat­ter how old you are,” he says. “Any­one can do it and we should. It is a good feel­ing.”

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