By Julie Huss
DERRY — Dylan Mahalingam continues to take on the world.
When he was 8, he visited India and saw children working in a brickyard instead of attending school.
His parents also told him that the leftover food on his dinner plate could feed an entire family somewhere in the world.
He knew he wanted to help.
Now ,the Pinkerton Academy junior is being recognized for his extensive volunteer work to help children and other causes around the world.
Last week, the 16-year-old was surprised during a physics class with the President's Call to Service Award, honoring his long volunteer resume.
The award, established in 2003 by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, recognizes volunteer contributions.
To be eligible, individuals must complete 4,000 or more hours of volunteer service over the course of their lifetime.
At just 16, Dylan has reached that mark.
"He's worked so hard at such a young age," said his mother, Krithi.
He is the founder of Lil'MDGs, a unique international youth empowerment organization galvanizing the collective power of youth to forward the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals.
Those goals include ending poverty, supporting education and helping combat HIV/AIDS.
Since 2004, he has inspired more than 4 million youth in 41 countries to work together to make a difference in the lives of more than 1 million children worldwide.
He credits all the volunteers and supporters who help him with his world work.
That credit also includes older sister, Ammu Invinti, who continues to inspire him to keep going.
"She served as a mentor to me," Dylan said.
Pinkerton Dean of Students Glenn Ahrens said Dylan always thinks of those in need.
"He has the best interests of others at heart," he said.
Headmaster Mary Anderson said she enjoys honoring students with awards in front of their peers during class time, as so many go unnoticed for their efforts.
"I love to recognize students for their good work," she said.
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