WILLIAMSPORT - Kyla Martin, 17, of Paxinos, was presented a Congressional Youth Service Award Jan. 7 by Congressman Tom Marino in his Williamsport office.

The senior at Shamokin Area Middle-High School received a Congressional Bronze Medal for her volunteer activities throughout her community. Participants may earn bronze, silver and gold certificates or medals by achieving personally challenging goals in community service, personal development, physical fitness and exploration/expedition.

Each participant works with an adult adviser who helps with setting challenging but achievable goals, and then verifies all activities and hours prior to sending information to Washington, D.C. Martin's adviser for the award was Jen McLaughlin, of Shamokin.

To earn her award, Martin volunteers with the charity Angels at Work to help people in her community. She coordinated clothing and food drives and special events for children, and helped with after-school programs and community baby showers. Martin also raised money by hiking.

For her personal development, she worked on improving her equestrian skills. For her physical fitness, Martin worked on strength training and soccer skills. Her expedition included a camping and hiking trip to a state park in which she explored the effects of changing seasons on nature, especially hiking trails.

During a special ceremony in his office, Marino commended Martin for her outstanding efforts and pointed out that few youths her age receive the award.

"The Congressional Youth Service Award has helped me learn how to set goals and follow through with them," Martin said. "I enjoyed working with others putting together programs to help all ages throughout my community. It was nice to see how the community came together for people in need. Working on the award allowed me to set personal goals for my equestrian skills, which helped keep me on track and introduced me to new areas in equestrian sports."

She was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Gold Award in 2009 for over 100 hours of volunteer service during the year.

She is a member of the National Honor Society and is a distinguished honor student at Shamokin Area Middle-High School. She enjoys all types of equestrian activities, reading and writing. She serves as president of Angels at Work and is the editor of the school newspaper known as the Indian Times. She also is a member of the high school yearbook committee.

Martin is currently working on achieving a gold medal by completing all requirements by the end of the summer. To attain a gold medal, participants must complete over 400 hours of community service, 400 hours in personal development and physical fitness, and a four-night exploration project.

She plans on attending college to earn a degree in journalism and equestrian facilitated learning that involves working with disabled children and adults in equestrian therapy, including riding and vaulting.

She is a daughter of Kathy and Dave Witcoskie, of Paxinos, and Jeff Martin, of Augustaville, and granddaugher of Charles and Jean Korzenaski, of Shamokin.

Martin thanked her family, friends and area businesses, especially The Plumbing Outlet and VNA Health System, who helped support many of her community service projects.