Ridgefield resident Kayleigh Bowler, a senior at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, recently earned the Congressional Award “Gold” Medal, the highest honor a member of the Unites States Senate or House of Representatives may bestow upon a youth civilian. During the past three years, Kayleigh has dedicated more than 1,400 hours across all four program areas including voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration in order to earn her Gold Medal.

Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, service, and achievement in young people ages 13 ½ to 23. It began as a bipartisan effort in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation was originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. Each subsequent president has signed continuing legislation.

“The Congressional Award guidelines allowed me to focus on the goals I enjoy most, especially helping others in need” said Bowler. “Dedicating my time giving back to the community by volunteering as a youth counselor at Woodcock Nature Center, and helping the homeless through Inspirica and Youth Service Opportunities, provided me not only with personal satisfaction, but also the confidence in my ability to help lead and motivate others.”

Kayleigh achieved her personal development goals by dedicating her time to musical theater at St. Luke’s School and participating in the Global Philanthropy Leaders Group (GPL) at St. Stephen’s Church, of which she is a founding member. Her physical fitness goals were achieved through her participation in volleyball and lacrosse, and she planned and participated in an extensive five-day trip to Massachusetts last summer where she explored the history of Boston’s Freedom Trail, Plymouth and Salem, which fulfilled her exploration goals. “The program gave me that extra push I needed to get out and try new things, to step out of my comfort zone and realize I can achieve anything,” said Bowler.

In addition to earning the Congressional Award, Kayleigh has been serving the local community for more than five years through her Ridgefield Lion’s Heart Service Group and has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service “Gold” Award in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by Barrack Obama and Donald Trump.

Kayleigh has been invited to a national ceremony for Congressional Award Gold Medal recipients which will be held next June in Washington, D.C. Her award will be presented by the members of the Senate and House of Representatives. In addition, her achievement will be recorded into the Congressional Record by the Senate Majority Leader. For more information about the program, visit congressionalaward.org.