Michael T. Sullivan: Social Justice Advocate – 2009 Youth Achievement Award Winner
Despite struggling for years with a host of learning disabilities and medical problems, Michael T. Sullivan, age 17, has never lost sight of what’s important. As an ardent activist, this two-sport varsity athlete (soccer and football) has already done more to impact the lives of others than most of us will do in a lifetime.
It all started at age 10 when he volunteered for “Rock & Wrap It Up,” an anti-poverty program that helps feed the hungry with rescued backstage leftovers from band concerts. Inspired by the concept, two years ago Sullivan initiated the Sports Wrap Program at Nassau Coliseum, rescuing unserved food from the Arena Football League’s NY Dragons games. He also collects used soccer equipment for needy kids in Iraq and Haiti, and in recognition, the U.S. Soccer Foundation twice awarded the young philanthropist with the “Passback Star” Award. Last fall, the Nassau County Soccer Coaches Association honored him with their “Unsung Hero” Award.
Given his extracurricular activities, it’s hard to imagine how Sullivan finds time for academics, but the Wantagh, NY12th grader is a standout in that arena as well—and has the recognition to show for it. Sullivan is a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, a prestigious pre-college science competition. Melding his love of sports with his interest in social justice issues, the young scholar’s entry evaluated the English Football Association’s anti-racism programs, measuring the extent of changes in referee and fan behavior. In addition, Sullivan has been named a Coca-Cola Foundation Scholar and is an AP scholar with awards in World, European and U.S. History. He plans to major in economics in college.