Youth in leadership: John Tafe

Stony Brook student leads Stop Island Hills campaign


John Tafe is a 19-year-old college student at Stony Brook University majoring in meteorology with a concentration in atmospheric sciences. He volunteers his time with the Stop Island Hills group and is a part of the Volunteer Fire Department of West Sayville. 

He describes himself as outgoing and fun, which reflects on his work helping the community. Taking a leadership role in his community, Tafe volunteers his time in the Stop Island Hills project as the social media director.

At the age of 15, he was concerned about his community and the effect the Island Hills project will have on the environment as well as a zone change.  He also values giving up-to-date information and keeping people informed about what is happening in regards to Island Hills. 

What he enjoys about his involvement in the campaign is the difference he makes in the community and how many people come together in a civilized manner to protest. 

“I feel my biggest accomplishment is just getting a whole group's voice out there. And keeping it civil,” he said. “Because that was one of the other things; the group used to be a little bit more, they were very passionate always. But the group used to sometimes come off in the wrong way.”

Tafe wants the readers to know that the organization Stop Island Hills is a group of concerned citizens who care about the Sayville community.

Also, after his own home caught fire when he was 7 years old, he saw how much the fire department helped people and became interested in the organization. 

What Tafe admires most about volunteer work is the sense of community between Island Hills, the chamber, and the other volunteers. His volunteering began first with food drives, loading food to local communities' pantries.  He also donated supplies to the military and to hospitals.  

He joined the Junior Fire Department in 2010, volunteering for as long as he could, and in 2017 he even became captain of the Junior Fire Department. As of today, he is a full member.  

“He's already accomplished so much more than most adults have in the world of volunteerism,” said Greater Sayville Chamber president Eileen Tyznar. “I feel John is going to be a leader. He is one now at a very young age. He not only takes initiative, he acts through on it, carries through, and he actually makes everybody else want to jump onboard.”

Tafe now attends Stony Brook University, where he majors in atmospheric sciences with concentrations in meteorology and minor in political science. His dream is to work in the field as a meteorologist. 

Ryan Sweezey is an award-winning photojournalist who is a junior at Longwood High School.


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