Student Spotlight: Connor Reiff
Options Charter School, Noblesville sophomore, Connor Reiff, has a passion for public service. Whether it’s raising money for a church library, participating in a Boy Scouts of America service project or volunteering at a food pantry, Reiff is dedicated to helping others. This spring, he was honored for giving back to the community with a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Award is given by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Certificates of Excellence are granted to the top 10% in each state who apply for the award which recognizes individuals of all ages who have significantly contributed their time and efforts to their community. Reiff was nominated by Options Charter School for this recognition.
Options Schools was aware that Reiff has served as a volunteer at the White River Christian Church food pantry since 2015 and that he and his sister Madeline, who goes by her nickname Maddie, initiated a successful campaign known as the Can Opener Project. As a result of the project, more than 355 can openers were donated to pantry guests. Noblesville Schools’ food distribution program also benefited from the initiative.
The project began when Reiff overheard a conversation while he was volunteering at the food pantry. An individual stated that selecting canned goods was not a possibility since their family did not own a can opener. From that exchange, Reiff got the idea to raise money in order to purchase can openers.
Reiff credits his sister Maddie, an eighth-grade Options student, with aiding him in achieving the results that he was recognized for.
“Maddie was the copilot throughout the project,” he says. “Without her, I never would’ve gotten the project underway. She helped me stay organized and helped me complete research on the best can openers.”
Reiff and his sister were already familiar with fundraising when they began the Can Opener project. For several years the siblings ran a lemonade stand at New Hope Presbyterian Church to raise money for a library. They used the knowledge gained from that experience to fund the Can Opener Project.
“Maddie and I initially had to write and submit a grant proposal to the United Way of Central Indiana Youth as Resources,” Reiff says. “We had to speak and present in front of a panel of judges. Once we received the grant, we also had to fundraise through lemonade stands, public speaking and community can opener donation boxes to earn and collect enough funds so that the project could be ongoing for several years.”
What does the future hold for Reiff? He plans to continue working on community service projects. As both a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout of American, he has participated in several missions to benefit the community. Now he hopes to begin working on an Eagle Scout project.