Brewer High School senior Daniel J. Ault, 17, has $4,620 to his credit. That’s how much he has raised to date for the March of Dimes. He also is the founder of the Brewer High School March of Dimes walk team, Witches’ Brew, which will be there for Sunday’s March for Babies at Brewer Auditorium.
“The impact of his fundraising is significant,” said Gene Staffiere, director of the Northern Maine Division of the March of Dimes.
In 2008, D.J. ranked 51st on the list of 10,000 young people in the nation who raised funds for the March of Dimes. For that accomplishment he received a special award at the annual March of Dimes auction in November. In 2007, he was 125th on the national list.
“He also has been the No. 1 youth fundraiser in Maine for the annual March of Dimes March for Babies,” Staffiere said.
All that is even more remarkable when one takes into consideration some of the other things D.J. does in the course of his daily life.
He participates in the Brewer High School music program as a singer, he’s president of the high school Key Club, he takes part in Alternative Spring Break by building homes for Habitat for Humanity, he’s a member of the National Honor Society and high school class marshal, he serves meals at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, he’s a member of the Hermon Baptist Church Veritas drama team, he assists students at the Brewer High School Writing Center, he’s an Eagle Scout and volunteers for the Maine Transition Network Youth Leaders Club – in addition to volunteering at the March of Dimes office in Brewer.
“I’ve learned a lot by volunteering,” D.J. said. “It has taught me responsibility and to care for people.”
Cindy Tuck of the Maine Transition Network, which assists young adults with disabilities in the Bangor area and beyond, said, “D.J. was involved as a volunteer almost from the start with the Youth Leaders Club. Having him there helps with attendance. He takes photographs at club activities, serves as a friend and mentor to the young people [in the program]. He is coming into his own and has a lot to offer.”
“D.J. has even spent school vacations working at the March of Dimes office,” Staffiere said, praising the young man’s dedication to the task.
“It’s kind of fun,” D.J. said, a characteristic understatement of the chores he tackles as a volunteer, from making phone calls and singing at the annual March of Dimes auction to cleaning the office, calling businesses to raise funds for the March of Dimes March for Babies and being a walker in it.
“It won’t be easy to replace him,” Staffiere said of next fall when D.J. goes off to college. “He’s very willing to help with anything that needs to be done.”
D.J. said that as a March of Dimes and Maine Transition Network volunteer, he learned leadership and communication skills, how to work with people and to be more professional and mature.
“It was a free education,” he said.
As a result of his volunteerism with the March of Dimes and other entities, D.J. is one of six Maine students who will receive the Teens Who Care Award for outstanding community service sponsored by WLBZ-TV 2 and WCSH-TV 6. He will receive a $2,000 scholarship.
In nominating D.J. for the award, Trish Hansen of Merrill Bank wrote, “D.J. is special because he is a genuine person with a big heart. He’s an example to everyone around him.”
Ault also was added to the Roll of Honor recently for the Governor’s Service Awards.
In the fall, D.J. will attend New Brunswick Bible Institute in Victoria Corner, New Brunswick, to pursue studies in theology to prepare him for a career in pastoral or missionary service.
The annual March of Dimes March for Babies is set for 10 a.m. Sunday, May 3, at Brewer Auditorium. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. For information, visit www.marchofdimes.com or call 989-3376.