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State Honoree

Stephan DaCosta

Rhode Island

Stephan DaCosta, 17, of Cumberland, R.I., a senior at Cumberland High School, is the lead coordinator of maintenance for House of Compassion, a home for people living with AIDS. Stephan first became involved as a high school freshman. In the beginning, he wasn’t completely enjoying his work at the house; but once he started to spend more time befriending the residents, Stephan has become totally dedicated. “Being a part of their lives makes my life even more precious because I am touching their hearts each time I am with them,” said Stephan. Once weekly, Stephan makes his way to the house, toting with him his lawnmower, rake, shovel and other tools. Stephan makes his rounds throughout the house, and then organizes a crew of fellow students to help. He also cooks dinner once every week for the residents. Local officials have threatened to close the house because of its lack of maintenance, so Stephan knows that each time he is there, he is helping to keep the house open. “By doing what I do, it gives the residents a home,” said Stephan.