Van Cott Girls of Merit 2012: Taylor Kalpokas

By Cristina Frank

October 17, 2012 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 6:45 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) She may be in middle school, but 12-year-old Taylor Kalpokas of Newark Valley, is into sports, giving back to her community and is one of Van Cott Girls of Merit 2012.

Kalpokas is a busy girl. "Monday I have cross country practice, then I go to dance, then cheerleading," said Kalpokas.

Add on playing football, basketball, softball - she's even been wrestling since she was five.

But - she's also giving back.

The floods of 2011 hit right before Taylor's 11th birthday, so the 7th grader and Girl Scout from Newark Valley cancelled her own party to help.

"Instead of getting gifts for myself, I decided to get gift cards for a flood family in Endicott. We got about $100 in gift certificates."

In the weeks following the flood, she delivered food, supplies and stuffed animals in Owego.

During the holidays, she handed out 250 stockings to flood victims.

She's even been a part of the Action News Team as a Junior Reporter for the Harlem Globetrotters in March.

And she isn't done yet.

For her Silver Award - she's working on project she calls Buddy Pillows for hospital neonatal units.

"My one brother had a collapsed lung, so he was in the neonatal unit for awhile. And my other brother was born a month early, so his lungs weren't strong enough. So, I figured I could make something like a pillow but with a family picture to go inside for the baby."

Taylor says giving back is something that gives her confidence.

She may be cheering, running or asking the tough questions - but always helping.

10 outstanding ladies were picked as Van Cott Girls of Merit 2012.

WBNG's Girls World Expo is this Sunday, October 21 at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel and Conference Center.

Girls World Expo sponsors