By Maggie Katz, Correspondent, Clifton Journal
CLIFTON — Super heroes are extraordinary: they fly, can bench-press cars, and some can leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are not average people. In the face of such incredible fiction, it leaves the rest of us feeling a bit lackluster. However, there is hope. Cliftonite Krystal Woolston is a community service volunteer whose repertoire may rival even Superman. Last month in Los Angeles she was recognized with the Everyday Hero award at the American Federation of Teachers convention.
While some may argue whether heroes are born or made, Woolston started her service work in middle school, after being inspired by her mother, volunteering with the youth group at her local church in Hazlet. For her, even when the rest of her life felt like a lot to bear, the youth group and its service projects gave her stability. She grew up in Middletown, before attending Brookdale Community College and Montclair State University, where she studied English and counseling. Now 30 years old, Woolston continues to be inspired to a life of service, which has taken this Clifton resident to locations across the country and even to other parts of the globe. Her travels have taken her to Keansburg, a small town still in need of Sandy relief two years after the storm, and as far as Haiti, where she has traveled on several occasions with her former youth leader.
“I went by chance [to Haiti] the first time,” Woolston recounted. “I ran into an old youth leader when doing Sandy cleanup and she mentioned having space on the upcoming trip she was running and asked me if I wanted to participate[...] I feel such a connection to that place and loved every second – I knew I had to go back the next year.”