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Meet the seven Pingry seniors—equally committed in the classroom as they are in their sport—who earned this year's conference, county, Prep, and state honors. 

Anjali Kapoor '20 Receives Multiple Honors for Service
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In recognition for community and civic engagement through her non-profit organization Puzzle Ribbons, Pingry’s Anjali Kapoor ’20 has received a Certificate of Excellence from The 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the President’s Volunteer Service Award—Gold Level, and the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors young people across America for “outstanding volunteer service”—Certificates of Excellence are granted to the top 10 percent of all applicants in each state and the District of Columbia. President’s Volunteer Service Awards recognize Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. Honorees of the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service.

Here, Anjali describes her efforts:

Many people in developing countries are not familiar with autism, and as a result, most autistic children there go undiagnosed. In 2012, I started Puzzle Ribbons to spread autism awareness and provide medical and educational resources to autistic children in these countries. I have organized a multitude of fundraising events, including annual walks, bake sales, and toy drives. Additionally, I use social media to spread autism awareness on a broader scale, as well as regularly post blogs on Puzzle Ribbons’ website (puzzleribbons.org) and LinkedIn.

Finally, I partnered with a hospital in India to distribute a survey I created to gauge autism awareness in developing versus developed countries. The results showed a stark difference in autism awareness, but not in autism prevalence, suggesting that the lower-recorded incidences of autism in developing countries are likely due to a lack of autism awareness. I presented my survey results at the European Autism Congress in Croatia this March.

My next steps in this project include distributing educational material on autism among elementary school communities; writing a book to help younger children learn about autism through storytelling; and developing video tools to train elementary school principals, teachers, and nurses how to identify early signs of autism, so that autistic kids can get proper diagnosis and treatment.

Furthermore, I am in the early stages of forming a partnership with NGOs in India to implement these awareness initiatives. I hope that Puzzle Ribbons can reduce the stigma around autism and help autistic children get the social acceptance they deserve and the medical attention they need.”

Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer