PJA alumna earns Stars for Kids Award

PHOTO: Bella Phillips accepts her Stars for Kids Award at the Janus Youth Programs annual dinner on Nov. 7, 2018. Photo by Peggy Valenti

By Lisa Katon

Last spring, Bella Phillips, then an eighth-grader at Portland Jewish Academy, organized a Family Fun Run for Janus Youth Programs, raising nearly $2,000 for the organization.

Bella orchestrated the entire event, which included securing the venue, applying for a grant to help offset costs, coordinating a bake sale, publicizing the race, putting together raffle baskets and more.

In November Janus honored Bella with the Stars for Kids Award, presented at the organization’s annual dinner at McMenamins Edgefield. Janus established the award several years ago to showcase the exceptional caring and concern of youth for other youth dealing with critical life challenges. (See story on another award-winning PJA project – Cards for Peace.)

“The board was so impressed with what Bella had done this past May, she became their unanimous choice to receive this year’s Stars for Kids Award,” says Janus Advancement Director Rosalie Karp.

According to Janus board member Chad Paulson, Bella is a “true Star for Kids, an example of someone we can all look up to.” Bella made a big impact, dedicating her project to helping Janus in its quest to change the lives of youth who need food, shelter and other services to help them build their futures. People such as Bella make this work possible, stepping forward to make a difference in the lives of the youth Janus serves.

“There is absolutely no way we would be able to do that without the help and support of individuals in the community,” says Rosalie.

Now a freshman at Wilson High School, Bella is an active member of Wilson’s Varsity Cheerleading Squad and Competition Cheer Squad. She also is active in two Jewish youth groups and has plans to volunteer at the Head Start Preschool at Stevens Creek Crossing.

Bella has become a shining example with her leadership qualities, good deeds and hard work. This busy young woman will no doubt continue to do great things and lead with her positive attitude and commitment to serving those in need.

“I felt honored and grateful to receive the Stars for Kids Award from Janus Youth Programs,” says Bella. “Although I feel it’s everyone’s duty to contribute to doing good in the world, I must admit that it felt really rewarding to be recognized!”


Lisa Katon is the donor relations and grants specialist for Portland Jewish Academy and Mittleman Jewish Community Center.

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