Zachary W. Gwiazda
Zachary W. Gwiazda, 15, is chairman of the all-youth board of advisors of the We Cancerve Movement, Inc., a nonprofit that brings happiness to children experiencing homelessness, catastrophic illness and food insecurity, who are in foster care group homes and orphanages, and who are unaccompanied minors. A high school sophomore, he was named a 2023 Hormel Foods 10 Under 20 Food Hero Rising Star for his role in fighting food insecurity through the Spork'd segment of On the Move with We Cancerve, a children's television show he helped create.
Hobbies: Filmmaking and editing, traveling with family, baking, reading, and singing. He can also make delicious homemade ice cream!
Fun Facts: Since 2021, he has been a member of the Gunpowder Mill Racers Mountain Bike team. He starts his third season in summer 2023. He also has a very noisy beagle named Rocko who is his buddy.
In his freshman year at Bel Air High School, he served as a member of the tech crew for the Bel Air Drama Company, for both the Fall and Spring productions. He also participated in the high school chorus, and served as a member of the high school Cat’s Eye Morning Announcement team, and the Interactive Media Production Program. He plans to continue all of these activities through high school.
He said he's always been drawn to help other people in need, and enjoy working to make his community a better place for everyone who lives in it. As a young child, he and his brother created cards with their own artwork that they sold to raise money to donate to Habitat for Humanity and Kennedy Krieger.
"I like to make people happy. I am particularly interested in helping children who are experiencing homelessness or struggling with other issues through no fault of their own. I like to do things that help make children feel happy and secure," said Gwiazda.
"When I was in elementary school, I made cards and sold them to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake because I wanted everyone to have a home. I continued this until Covid. From 2017-2022, I was an active volunteer on the Bear Legacy Trail in Bel Air, helping to build and maintain trails and trail features. Since 2019, I have volunteered in a variety of capacities at Emmanuel Episcopal Church Bel Air, including working as a Vacation Bible School assistant and doing gardening on the church property; since summer 2022 I have been an active member of the Video Team that livestreams Sunday services."
In 2021 he began volunteering every month at the Do Good Drop Ins with We Cancerve, and continued through June 2023. He was handpicked by Founder Grace Callwood to fill this role, which she had occupied since creating the organization at age seven in 2012.
"I have greatly enjoyed volunteering with the Do Good Drop Ins and working together with other youth to help people in the community. I believe that we can all work together to make the world a better place. I like to solve problems and I really like seeing what kids can accomplish when they work together."