The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club (GCSGC) is pleased to announce that Milan Coraggio-Sewell, Junior and tennis player at Phoenix Country Day School in Paradise Valley, Ariz., has been named the recipient of the 2022 Impact Award for her work as CEO of Boxed Up Project. The Impact Award honors the Arizona high school student athlete demonstrating the most impactful leadership through community service. The award will be presented to Milan at the Ed Doherty Award Luncheon on December 17, 2022.
At just six-years-old, Milan faced the tragic loss of her childhood best friend. “I was too young to understand what had happened. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling and kept everything boxed up inside me, which I now know is not a healthy way to grieve and heal,” Milan said. “All I knew was that I was sad and confused, and felt empty. A few years later when I lost two of my grandparents, I went through the same cycle of emotions and loneliness. I felt like no one understood my pain because I didn’t even understand it myself.”
During the past year, Milan channeled her experiences of loss and her love for volunteerism to form Boxed Up Project, which shares the message that kids and teens struggling with grief and loss are not alone. The nonprofit organization produces toolboxes that help people ages 5 to 17 ‘unpack their grief’. Milan works with accredited grief experts to curate the boxes, which contain items such as books, comfort cards, journals, art supplies, photo albums, stuffed animals, fun activities, and an instruction guide on how and when to use the items. The boxes also include resources for adults to further support kids.
According to National Grief Awareness, one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by age 18. Experts say that kids with unresolved grief are at risk for depression, anxiety and even suicide. Boxed Up Project collaborates with organization that specialize in helping kids and their families heal. Organizations that have partnered with Boxed Up Project include Billy’s Place, New Song Center for Grieving Children, Navajo Nation, Open Hearts Family Wellness, Ryan House, Stepping Stones of Hope, and St. Vincent de Paul. To date, Boxed Up Project has provided 500 boxes to kids and teens in need.
“Milan plays the important role as a mentor and natural leader to her teammates. It is not surprising to me that she is a dedicated contributor off the court as well,” Jerry Keever, Varsity Girl’s Tennis Coach, said. “A teacher and coach’s responsibility are to help young people like Milan and her teammates create an environment that is conducive to their success. I am in awe of Milan’s interpretation of the qualities that she has learned through athletics, and how she has translated these lessons to benefit other people’s lives.”
As a student-athlete, Milan’s 2021 overall record was 17-1, while maintaining standing as a high-performing student that also regularly volunteers in her community. Milan is a nationally ranked USTA athlete.
“Each year, GCSGC is amazed at the positive stories emanating from every level of Arizona high school athletics,” Don Kile said. “It is refreshing to witness the positive contributions that our young people are dedicated to making not only to sport, but in their local communities. Milan is a fine example of all that is right about Arizona high school athletics.”
Milan’s two best friends have joined the Boxed Up Project team, which hopes to expand the project to include boxes for kids and teens who have lost a pet, experienced trauma, or are separated from a loved one for a variety of circumstances. Boxed Up Project is currently raising money to fulfill 3,000 boxes. For more information, visit https://www.boxedupproject.org/.
For more information about GCSGC and the Ed Doherty Award Luncheon, visit www.gcsgridiron.com.
About the Impact Award
An Arizona high school student is nominated for the Impact Award by classmates, their school or district athletic liaison. A committee, which includes members of The Doherty Club, votes to select from the nominations. The recipient is formally announced at the annual Ed Doherty Award Luncheon.
About Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club
The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club is the steward of the Ed Doherty Award and is the most meaningful advocate of high school football in the State of Arizona. The mission of the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club is to represent Arizona amateur athletics by bringing national attention to the extraordinary qualities of our young people and serve in the pursuit of athletic achievement, academic advancement and greater social affinity.
Programs supported through funds generated by the Ed Doherty Award Luncheon include the annual Ed Doherty Award Luncheon are focused on community building programs, ONE TEAM™ Academic Performance Program, heat exertional illness training and emergency protocols, equipment fitting certifications for high school support staff, and many highly specialized programs designed to create and maintain the physical and mental well-being of high school student athletes in Arizona.
About the Ed Doherty Award
For 35 years, the Ed Doherty Award has been the State of Arizona’s highest individual high school football honor and is awarded annually to the state’s most outstanding high school football player by the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club. The Ed Doherty Award recognizes the player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winner of the award epitomizes great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. In addition to on-field performance, the Ed Doherty Award recognizes the well-rounded accomplishments of community involvement, school pride, and academics.