A grant of $5,000 will be donated in Paladino's name to Project Sunshine for which she volunteers and she will be recognized on field at the Jets' home game on January 1, 2006 against the Buffalo Bills. U.S. residents 13-21 years of age were eligible for this award. Applicants must have founded or created a new project-based service or program that responds to the needs of their community. The applicants must be responsible for the creation, organization, management and evaluation of the project or program.
Michelle Paladino's project-based service addresses the social, emotional and recreational needs of children who are affected by long-term illness. Paladino has organized more than 600 student volunteers to visit hospitals in the New York City area and brighten the lives of sick children. Project Sunshine is a nonprofit organization that provides free social, educational and recreational programs to children and families affected by medical challenges.