By Jim Lambert
Union Catholic’s Alexxa Irizarry, who has devoted much of her life to helping people in need, was recently honored for her service and civic contributions.
Irizarry, a junior, was awarded a Certificate of Special Senate Recognition from U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, and received a Certificate from Paterson Mayor Andre’ Sayegh for her commitment to the community of Paterson.
Irizarry’s mother is the Founder and President of the Colombian American Goodwill Association, and Alexxa has worked tirelessly with her mother on relief efforts for Venezuelan refugees and has spent several years helping indigenous people in Colombia and the United States.
Over the last couple years, the Irizarry family has also been very active in Paterson.
“We have been working with the Mayor Sayegh, and have done lots of fundraising for the city of Paterson,’’ said Irizarry, who lives in Union. “We have donated lots of supplies to the schools in Paterson, and my mother and I spend one or two Saturday’s a month cooking 200 plates of food and giving them out to the homeless in Paterson. We’ve been doing that for the last two years.’’
Irizarry said her goal is to help as many people as she can, and to get others to do the same.
“It’s nice to receive the recognition, but the goal is to get more people to help out and create awareness about poverty,’’ said Irizzary. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. After all, we are all brothers and sisters.’’
Irizarry said being selected as the 2018 International Teen Queen of the Carnaval de Barranquilla, Colombia last year has helped her get the word out about the need to help others.
“Because I was selected for International Teen Queen, that gave me recognition in certain communities and publicity, so I’ve been able to use that platform to push forward and help even more people,’’ said Irizarry.
Being a humanitarian is something that has always been in Irizarry’s blood.
“Helping people has always been important to me and my family,’’ said Irizzary. “When I graduate high school, I want to pursue a career in medicine and that ties in with my need to help others. My mom has taught me everything and I know, and I’m going to continue her legacy of helping others in the future.’’