Steven Crowley is dedicated Andover Youth Services worker who understands the bullying and anxiety issues suffered by middle school students.
He just listens when kids unleash their problems.
It could be on a Youth Services hike or while he's quietly playing a game of Monopoly at the Cormier Youth Center. Crowley, 19, has been lending his listening ears at the center for the past four years.
The Rotary of Andover's Citizens Who Care event recently recognized Crowley as Student of the Year for his volunteer work around town and his efforts with middle school kids. The award was presented in front of about 250 guests who boisterously cheered Crowley for his good work.
His brother and sister couldn’t be there that May night – they were away at college – but his mom, Amy, was busy snapping photos and his dad, Thomas, was busy just being a proud dad at the event.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Shortly after their arrival home from the event, right after the family walked through the door, Thomas had a heart attack and fell to the floor. Steven watched in shock and mustered the strength to call 911, while his mom tended to his dad. Thomas Crowley didn’t survive.
Steven Crowley is a big proponent of living in the moment and, as he deals with his grief, is keeping focused on with what's going on in his life.
He's got lots of support — from his mom, siblings, other relatives and friends. He's also got the support of his hometown as he works to build his future.
A 2019 graduate of Andover High School, where his guidance counselor nominated him for the Rotary award, Crowley now attends Virginia Tech. He majors in mechanical engineering.
The Rotary of Andover has been running a GoFundMe page to help Crowley pay his college expenses.
Meanwhile, he continues to helps kids through Andover Youth Services as much as he can.
"You don't want to look back and wish you did something different," Crowley said. "AYS connects with kids and I tell them to get out of the cyber world and into the real world and live in the moment.
"Connecting with the kids is so important at AYS,'' he said. "Whether they flunked a math test, have trouble at home, want to fit in at school — we listen. We want to stop problems and do that early.''
As Crowley keeps in touch with Andover Youth Services children and checks in on their troubles. Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey calls him "a great kid."
"Everything he has been through, yet he still stays connected to us,'' Fahey said. "Just an incredible kid.''