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Salem’s Jalen Cotto gets scholarship to Wes Welker camp

Sophia and Ben Maynard are participating in the PMC Wilmington Kids Ride on Sunday for the fifth year to raise money for cancer care and research.

Sophia and Ben Maynard are participating in the PMC Wilmington Kids Ride on Sunday for the fifth year to raise money for cancer care and research.

DREAM COME TRUE: Jalen Cotto of Salem may be only 13, but his dream is to play football at Washington State University.

A seventh-grade student at the Salem Academy Charter School, Cotto has been playing football for as long as he can remember and is a member of the Salem Witches youth team.

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He'll now have the opportunity to hone his skills at a football clinic offered by Wes Welker ProCamps Saturday and Sunday at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody.

Cotto and Cameron O'Neill, 12, of Easton, were selected to receive scholarships to the clinic through a collaboration of ProCamps and the DJ Dream Fund.

The fund was established by the family of DJ Henry of Easton, a football player at Pace University in New York who was fatally shot by police in October 2010.

The mission of the nonprofit is to share Henry's love of sports by providing financial support to enable children and young adults to pursue healthy lifestyles through athletics and wellness programs.

At the clinic, participants will work on fundamental skills and the team concept of football, play daily games, and hear daily talks by Welker, the New England Patriots wide receiver. They also will get instruction from some of the top coaches in the Boston area.

They'll leave the clinic with a ProCamps T-shirt, an autographed team photo with Welker, and School of the Legends online training videos.

The clinic benefits the Wes Welker Foundation. Visit djdreamfund.org and weswelker.com.

SIBLING DYNAMOS: During the past four years, Ben Maynard, 11, and his sister, Sophia, 9, raised thousands of dollars for cancer care and research by participating in the PMC Wilmington Kids Ride.

This year alone, they have collected more than $20,000 with the help of family, friends, and local businesses.

The PMC Wilmington Kids Ride, which is Sunday, is one of 35 rides that take place throughout New England this spring, summer, and fall. Local events include the PMC Kids Ride Chelmsford-Westford on June 17 and the PMC Reading Kids Ride on June 24.

Modeled after the adult Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the mini bike-a-thons are for ages 2 through 15. The money raised funds adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.

Since it was founded in 1998, the Kids Ride program has raised more than $4 million.

Ben and Sophia, of Wilmington, got involved five years ago, when Ben saw an ad for the event. He loved riding his bike and saw it as a way to help his great aunt, who had been diagnosed with cancer. She is now in remission. Ben rode in the event solo, and raised $800.

The following year, Sophia joined her brother in the ride, and was honored by the local Rotary Club as the highest fund-raiser for her age group. Ben was recognized as the second highest fund-raiser for his age group.

The children also turned to their parents for motivation and support. Their father, Greg Maynard, a leadership gifts officer at Bentley University in Waltham, shows them how to set higher fund-raising goals annually. Their mother, Maria Maynard, a senior vice president at Bank of America, works to get individual donations made by friends and family matched by their employers in the Boston area.

The PMC Wilmington Kids Ride expects 150 children, from preschool through grade 6, to ride a variety of routes designed for differing cycling abilities.

The ride is 9 to 11:45 a.m. beginning at the Boutwell Early Childhood Center. There is a $15 registration fee and a $20 fund-raising minimum.

Visit kids.pmc.org.

Katie Galenius will be honored Thursday.

WHO'S WHAT WHERE: Middlesex Community College will present Katie Galenius of Saugus with its 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award at commencement in Lowell next Thursday. A 1996 graduate, Galenius is director of the Older Battered Women's Program at Greater Lynn Senior Services, which aids abused women over the age of 50. She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Regis College in 1998, and a master's degree in social work from Salem State University in 2004. Galenius was named 2009 Social Worker of the Year by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She also was recognized as a 2011 Person of the Year in Saugus for her volunteer work in the schools, her neighborhood, on the zoning board, and with recycling efforts. . . . Mary Margaret Almonte, a teacher of English as a Second Language at the Beebe School in Malden, was named Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages. Almonte has led her students in quarterly writing celebrations and an annual community service project. This year, students painted an outside wall at the school that had been covered with graffiti.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com.
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