High praise for Aaliya Nero

LIHUE — Even when she stepped into Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s office on Wednesday, 11-year-old Aaliyah Keala Nero wasn’t thinking about herself.

She was there to be honored as a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award for putting in 113 community service hours in 2016. She’s the co-founder of Keala’s Big Sister Club Inc., a nonprofit corporation, and is the 2016 Kauai Pre-Teen Miss USA.

“I just wanted to help others and pay the kindness that was shown to me and my family back to the community I love,” Nero said.

The civil award is bestowed by the office of the President of the United States. Created by George W. Bush, it honors those who have put hundreds of hours per year into volunteering.

Nero said it was an honor to meet the mayor.

“I accept it on behalf of all Kauai youth,” she said.

Nero will receive the actual President’s Volunteer Service Award in late October at a ceremony luncheon, according to Stehpanie Shinno, Nero’s mother.

“I am grateful to everyone who supported her on this journey who helped me raise this amazing young lady,” she said. “There is still more to come and we look forward to sharing it in hopes it might inspire other youth to create a nonprofit organization or to just simply serve with aloha.”

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