250K Strong: Meet the Spartan Youth Living our Mission
Madison Sidney first participated in TMF’s programming through Character Does Matter at her Houston high school, Energy Institute, where her mentors say the senior is the first to step up to volunteer. Madison is also an enthusiastic participant in Operation Legacy, and led her own project to establish a community garden in one of Houston’s food deserts in the Third Ward.
Torey Charpentier is the Gold Star Sister of Petty Officer Third Class Andrew Charpentier, and has dedicated herself to the “If Not Me, Then Who…” mantra in honor of her brother. She’s attended three survivor expeditions, most recently in Alaska with her parents, where she worked tirelessly to rebuild veterans’ homes and motivate others.
"This trip really showed me how important service is, and I want to do more of it when I go home,” Torey said after a Teen Expedition to Oregon in 2017.
Torey also is an active member of the 9/11 Heroes Run - Great Falls, MT, planning committee.
Michael Ponenti & Jacob Glantzman
High-school juniors Michael Ponenti and Jacob Glantzman organize the annual 9/11 Heroes Run - Wall Township, NJ, to honor the heroes of Sept. 11 and the wars since. Michael, 16, first sparked his passion for TMF after reading “Brothers Forever,” and has recruited others to join the “If Not Me, Then Who…” mission.
Michael and Jacob have spurred a movement throughout New Jersey. Among those inspired by the young men’s commitment is Michael’s dad, a Lieutenant Colonel with the New Jersey State, who now delivers Character Does Matter programming throughout the state alongside fellow officers.
The duo also organize various Operation Legacy projects in their hometown, which include clearing invasive plant species from public land.
Grace Smith, 17, has led TMF initiatives in the Lehigh Valley, PA, region since reading “Brothers Forever” for a 7th grade history project, and drawing inspiration from the stories of Travis Manion and Brendan Looney. Now as a high school junior, Grace organizes the annual 9/11 Heroes Run in Lehigh Valley. Grace’s passion for TMF is infectious, bringing classmates and friends to honor the legacies of fallen heroes.