The Young Marines Youth Organization has named Sgt. Maj. Kariel Mayer, of Harvey, as its Division 4 Young Marine of the Year.

A member of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Young Marines, Mayer, 17, is a junior at the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy. She will represent her division in competing with five other regional winners for the title of National Young Marine of the Year. The winner will be announced at the Adult Leaders’ Conference for Young Marines in May in Las Vegas.

Mayer is in her fourth year in the program. As a finalist, she has been invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. This year is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima and the 71st for Guam. The Young Marines will act as escorts for the war veterans during the trip.

“I am excited to go to Iwo Jima and Guam, but I am also nervous,” she said. “This will be the first time I will be so far away from home, but it will be such a wonderful trip.”

Mayer is also a member of her school’s soccer team, a member of the Yearbook Club and a member of the National Honor Society.

Mayer is the daughter of Kendra Clark and Erskine Clark. She has a sister, Keira Mayer, who also is a Young Marine.

Donate beads

Want to get rid of all those unwanted Mardi Gras beads? Consider donating them to Arc of Greater New Orleans Recycling Center.

In Metairie, there are two drop-off sites, 925 Labarre Road and 3406 Hessmer Ave. Also, recycle bins are located inside Clearview Shopping Center in Metairie and at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

The beads will be sorted and repacked by Arc employees and sold to float riders. The goal of Arc is to employ people with special needs and enable them to develop, function and live to their fullest potential.

Arc serves more than 1,000 children and adults in Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes. Arc provides services such as early intervention, family services coordination, personal care, employment and habitation, and living assistance.

Walk for MG

The New Orleans Myasthenia Gravis Resource Group will hold its fourth annual walk at 10 a.m. on April 11 at Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie.

The event is free and includes a 1-mile and 3-mile walk. There will be food, refreshments and music. Donations will be accepted at the event or online at, and proceeds will go toward research and programs of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.

MG affects approximately one in 5,000 people of any age, race or gender and is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups and can affect muscles that control eye movements, eyelids, chewing, swallowing, breathing, coughing and facial expression, as well as the arms and legs.

Since its inception, the walk has raised $125,000. Last year, more than 30 businesses in Metairie and New Orleans served as corporate sponsors for the event. Nationwide, the walks have raised close to $3 million in the last three years.

Harvey resident Tommy Santora, 35, is the founder of the MGFA New Orleans Resource Group, which began in June 2011. He was diagnosed with the disease when he was 12.

“This walk helps us raise awareness of this disease to help us one day find a cure,” Santora said.

Santora added that the New Orleans Resource Group’s quarterly meetings at the Elks Lodge in Metairie, and membership has grown to more than 100 myasthenia gravis patients, family members and friends since its founding.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at or by calling (504) 430-8053.