Real-Life Project Ideas from Recipients of The Prudential Spirit of Community Award

What can a young volunteer do? There are lots of opportunities to make an important difference in the lives of others. Following are specific projects that have actually been carried out by young people who have won Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Perhaps their activities will give you some ideas as to what you can do in your own neighborhood or town to help make life better for someone else.
  • Feeding the hungry +

     

    Staci Ashcraft of Rogers, Ark., organized a summer lunch program for disadvantaged children and adults in her community. 

    Stephanie Dunton of Winterport, Maine, conducted a monthly drive that collected food items for a local pantry.

    Alison MacLeod of Groton, Mass., staged an annual backyard "carnival" to raise money and collect food items for a local food pantry.

    Robert Schaaf of St. Joseph, Mo., established a community garden that produced fresh produce for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater St. Joseph. 

    Aubrie Beard of Choteau, Mont., solicited food donations from her community to fill bags that are sent home with needy students every weekend.

    Kat Howland of Dover, N.H., organized a campaign that challenged high school sophomore classes across her state to collect food items for the New Hampshire Food Bank. 

    Nchinda Nchinda of Oak Creek, Wis., helped create a fruit and vegetable garden at his school and plan an annual "Harvest Celebration" dinner at which the garden's produce was served to raise money for a local food pantry.  Back To Top
  • Helping or comforting the sick +

     

    Julie McCall of Pelham, Ala., led a project to distribute "goody" bags to adult chemotherapy patients at area hospitals.

    Haydn Bryant of Morrilton, Ark., raised money for cancer research, education, and patient care by organizing an all-youth team for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. 

    Jessica Willshire of Anaheim Hills, Calif., collected donations of videotapes to create a video library for brain-injured children at a local developmental center.

    Taylor Mullinax of Rock Spring, Ga., made autographable "chemo hats" for children who lost their hair while undergoing treatment for cancer.

    Carson Hand of Columbus, Ga., delivered motivational speeches and sang songs across the country to inspire young people and adults who are battling cancer.

    Gabrielle Richards of Snellville, Ga., organized a group of community volunteers who visited and provided encouragement and small gifts to children and elderly people in medical facilities. 

    Jena Sims of Winder, Ga., organized "Prince and Princess of Hope" beauty pageants to boost the morale of children and teens fighting terminal illnesses. 

    Kathleen McGlynn of Belleville, Ill., created a cookbook of recipes for children with common stomach disorders. 

    Shelbi Weeks of Cambridge, Iowa, made quilts and donated them to the neonatal intensive care unit of a local hospital to keep tiny newborns warm.

    Connor Dantzler of Damascus, Md., distributed joke books to patients, their families, and caregivers at hospitals and care centers.

    Heather Kern of Cedar Springs, Mich., organized a benefit dance to increase public awareness of pancreatic cancer and raise money for research into the deadly disease. 

    David Dumais of Trenton, Mich., led volunteer efforts to renovate a room at a Ronald McDonald House in Detroit. 

    Richard Cooper Kennard of Starkville, Miss., created a project to provide snacks and cleaning items for families staying at a local Ronald McDonald House while their children undergo treatment for cancer.

    Kasey Brownell of Conrad, Mont., organized a community race/walk fund-raiser to benefit breast cancer patients and their families. 

    Charles Mann of Wellington, Nev., made and sold prayer bracelets to help pay the medical bills of two young women undergoing cancer treatment. 

    Ryan Zimmerman of Cranford, N.J., organized an all-day, townwide volleyball tournament to increase awareness about cancer and to raise money for cancer research. 

    Rachel Ford of Jenkintown, Pa., coordinated a group of students that conducted projects for and visited a homeless shelter for mentally ill women in Philadelphia.

    Paige Krull of Watertown, S.D., baked and sold cookies at a local festival to benefit a local cancer clinic.

    Haley Whatley of North Richland Hills, Texas, collected new stuffed bunny rabbits and delivered them to sick children at a local hospital at Easter time. 

    Jordan Brown of Franklin, Wis., made scrapbooks for children who are granted wishes by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to store photos from their wish trips or experiences.

    Stella Mayerhoff of Whitefish Bay, Wis., raised money to fight cancer by creating and selling "Just Believe" wristbands, and by leading a team in a "Relay for Life" walkathon. 

    Dhairyasheel Patel of Cheyenne, Wyo., helped provide medical treatment to low-income people by volunteering at a community clinic, a veterans' hospital, and a regional medical center. 

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  • Assisting the disabled +

     

    Stacey Grant of Lakeland, Fla., led a group of seven high school girls in producing storybooks for visually impaired children in their county. 

    Allison Gill of Omaha, Neb., implemented a project to place Braille markers on audio-books at the Omaha Public Library to make the collection more accessible to the visually impaired.

    Bryce Pfeiffer of Raton, N. Mex., led a project to purchase and install a handicapped-accessible fishing dock on a lake at a local state park.

    Brian Daly, 19, of Oklahoma City, Okla., organized an annual Halloween carnival at his school for special-needs children in Oklahoma. 

    Julia Pidasheff of Oregon City, Ore., started a club at her school that recruited music students to teach special-needs students how to play the piano. 

    Rose Kenyon of Wakefield, R.I., trained two puppies to serve as guide dogs for the blind. 

    Alyssa Church of Portsmouth, R.I., created an activity program for autistic and other developmentally disabled children at a local preschool. 

    Megan Brogan of Spring, Tex., helped physically and mentally disabled children play baseball in a special league. 

    Amanda Taylor of Concrete, Wash., fulfilled the dreams of a young girl with muscular dystrophy by teaching her how to ride a horse. 

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  • Protecting the environment +

     

    Shannon Edsall of Alabaster, Ala., conducted environmental-education workshops for children and adults across Alabama.

    Molly Watkins of Kenai, Alaska, launched an environmental awareness campaign to encourage Alaskans to replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. 

    Kenneth Sanchez of Prescott, Ariz., co-founded an e-waste collection and recycling business in Northern Arizona.

    Tayler McGillis of Toluca, Ill., established permanent recycling centers throughout his community, and collected thousands of pounds of aluminum cans for recycling. 

    Lyndsi Tallman of Woodhaven, Mich., initiated a paper-recycling program at her school.

    Benjamin McMullen of Chesterland, Ohio, organized a student volunteer group dedicated to preserving wetlands and an endangered hawk species. 

    Molly Hritzo of Holland, Pa., spearheaded a project to build floating platforms to improve the survivability of threatened redbelly turtles in local reservoirs.

    Katherine Potasky of Puyallup, Wash., coordinated a nature walk to educate 9- to 12-year-olds about their community and its natural environment.  Back To Top
  • Aiding the disadvantaged +

     

    Amy Holiday of Granite Bay, Calif., organized drives at local schools to collect books for a lending library at a home for abused and neglected children. 

    Corey Linehan of San Francisco, Calif., created a nonprofit organization that provides up-to-date computer technology and training to disadvantaged children.

    David Mulcahy of Roswell, Ga., developed a program that helps financially disadvantaged kids become soccer referees so that they can earn money to help themselves and their families. 

    Laura White of Alpharetta, Ga., organized monthly swimming lessons for disadvantaged children in the Atlanta area.

    Jackson Maberry of Makawao, Hawaii, taught children living in a local shelter how to plant and care for a vegetable garden, in an effort to give them not only fresh produce to enjoy, but also a sense of accomplishment. 

    Danielle Manning of Meridian, Idaho, collected packages of diapers to help stock a store at a public high school for teens who are pregnant or have a child.

    Elizabeth Peters of Lake Bluff, Ill., collected travel-size toiletry items to make "Basic Bundles" for residents staying at local shelters. 

    Brian Zimmerman of Batavia, Ill., organized a school-supply drive that assembled and distributed back-to-school packages for disadvantaged children at schools and organizations in his area. 

    Carah Austin of Whiteland, Ind., organized a tour of historical sites for disadvantaged and learning-disabled children from local elementary schools. 

    Sam Wagner of Davenport, Iowa, organized a daylong car wash and then sought donation pledges for each washed car, which generated enough money to help Habitat for Humanity build a house for a low-income family. 

    Kyleigh Huth of Dallas, Iowa, conducted an annual warm-clothing drive that collected coats, shoes, hats, gloves, and blankets for residents of a local homeless shelter.

    Matthew Wettach of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, founded a program that provided backpacks filled with new school supplies to kindergartners from low-income families.

    Gretchen Holthaus of Salina, Kans., initiated an annual event in which student volunteers solicit donations of money and canned goods for homeless shelters, and then "live" in a box overnight on the school campus to experience what it's like to be homeless. 

    Carter Boyd of Shreveport, La., collected new and used athletic equipment to give to needy kids, and conducted demonstrations on how to use the equipment safely. 

    Zachary Kahn of Silver Spring, Md., formed a club at his school that refurbished computers and donated them to needy students. 

    Laura Greenwald of Amesbury, Mass., created and sold a compact disc of holiday songs and stories performed by local children to raise funds for victims of domestic violence and disadvantaged people in her community. 

    William Stanton of Medfield, Mass., founded a charity that provides refurbished guitars and free music instruction to disadvantaged children.

    Raeann Barks of St. Johns, Mich., provided backpacks full of clothing, school supplies, personal hygiene products, books, toys, and other items to children who are removed from their homes because of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect.

    Adam Clements of Midland, Mich., organized a free summer camp for disadvantaged children in his county who could not otherwise afford a camp experience.

    Elizabeth Timberlake of DeWitt, Neb., organized her own 4-H club to teach horse-riding skills to girls who can't afford their own horses. 

    Rachel Willimott of Silver Springs, Nev., helped plan and organize an annual Easter egg hunt and raffle for disadvantaged children and families.

    Heather Wilder of Las Vegas, Nev., wrote a series of booklets to help foster children understand and cope with their situations.

    Alison Herlihy of Hampstead, N.H., conducted a "makeover" of a bedroom for two young girls from a family of Somalian refugees.

    Matthew Renzulli of Wayne, N.J., organized an extensive community campaign to collect socks for homeless and other disadvantaged people. 

    Anne Carter Haughton of Princeton, N.J., launched a project to collect donations of new and gently used prom dresses for girls from poor families in Appalachia.

    Sasha Lipton of Mountainside, N.J., started a program that rescues, refurbishes, and recycles plastic toys so that unwanted playthings bound for landfills can be given to needy children instead. 

    Jason Mogen of Dix Hills, N.Y., collected used eyeglasses for impoverished adults and children around the world. 

    Mark Draelos of High Point, N.C., developed a website for the Ward Street Mission to connect interested volunteers with the needs of the mission. 

    Elizabeth Richardson of North Wales, Pa., helped organize an annual drive to collect baby products for new mothers who cannot afford them. 

    Alexa Schreier of Mountville, Pa., created "Birthday in a Box" parties for children staying at a transitional shelter for homeless women with children. 

    Kimberly Tancredi of Chadds Ford, Pa., raised money to purchase Christmas presents and other items for disadvantaged children at a day care center in Wilmington, Del. 

    Brandy Jackson of Rydal, Pa., developed a program that collected gently used formal dresses, tuxedos, and accessories and sold them at low cost so that students from low-income families could participate in formal school events. 

    Chelsea Whitehurst of Aiken, S.C., developed a volunteer program that provides free tennis equipment and lessons to children from low-income families. 

    Andee Johnson of Brentwood, Tenn., led a holiday effort that enabled homeless people to "earn" small gifts for their loved ones by attending drug, alcohol, or education classes, or participating in community service. 

    Kirsten Horger of Richmond, Va., wrote a storybook for children at a local homeless shelter that serves as a guide to the shelter and tells the kids they are surrounded by people who care about them.

    Jessica Vance of Blacksburg, Va., crocheted baby hats, booties, and blankets for new mothers in need. 

    Erik Hille of Ritzville, Wash., raised money to buy swimming passes at the Ritzville Water Park for disadvantaged youth. 

    Kelsey Swiatko of Kenosha, Wis., collected donations of new underwear and socks for shelters in her community. 

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  • Enhancing school or community resources +

     

    Paris Davis of Irondale, Ala., raised money to open an Internet Café that has given kids in her small community a safe and convenient place to access computers and socialize. 

    Ariel Lyon of Juneau, Alaska, created a comprehensive resource guide to help local teenagers find fun things to do and places to go for help.

    Mason Newark of Harrington, Del., helped beautify a low-income neighborhood by planting flowering dogwood trees along one of its streets. 

    Ajay Major of Valparaiso, Ind., formed a volunteer multimedia team at his school to provide badly needed technological expertise to school staff and students.

    Andrew Thompson of Robards, Ky., created a small park with benches and flower planters to enhance the beauty of his community. 

    Allison Findlay of Mason, Mich., organized a volunteer effort to research, restore, and document gravesites at an abandoned pioneer cemetery.

    Frederick Savage of Conway, Mo., started a junior firefighter program three years ago at his local fire department to provide experience and opportunities for those who are too young to serve as volunteer firefighters. 

    Nathaniel Sink of Lexington, N.C., constructed a swing set and renovated the surrounding park grounds for a local tabernacle.

    Michael Meyer of Worthington, Ohio, created an Internet website for his school to improve teacher-student communication and inform parents about school activities. 

    Elizabeth Rushing of Jefferson, Ore., cleared and restored an overgrown nature garden at her former elementary school. 

    Rebecca Soules of Coos Bay, Ore., marked veterans' graves and replaced headstones at a local cemetery, and compiled a computer database of cemetery records.

    Forrest Carlson of Bainbridge Island, Wash., planted a "demonstration" garden in his schoolyard and developed accompanying educational materials to teach students how to plant a garden in small places without pesticides. 

    Eric Yurko of Bridgeport, W. Va., built a new playground at a local YMCA to replace an unsafe and deteriorating play area.

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  • Promoting health and safety +

     

    Michelle Davis of San Rafael, Calif., co-founded a student health club dedicated to combating obesity at her school. 

    Mylo Cheng of Palm Beach, Fla., developed a health education program to teach young people the importance of eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending less time in front of TV and computer screens. 

    Dominic Palumbo of Tinley Park, Ill., organized a charity walkathon that raised awareness of teen depression and suicide and collected money to provide therapy for depressed and suicidal teens. 

    Jon Preneta of Nicholasville, Ky., organized a safety fair at an elementary school in a low-income area. 

    John Seipel of Maryville, Mo., helped lead a volunteer group that persuaded his city council to ban smoking in local restaurants. 

    Nicholas Belanger of Winnemucca, Nev., initiated a campaign to improve pedestrian safety by placing bright orange crossing flags at busy intersections in his city. 

    Jolie Yang of Centerville, Ohio, visited schools to educate students about the dangers of tobacco, lobbied city officials to make her town smoke-free, collected signatures to restrict smoking throughout Ohio, and formed a student anti-tobacco group.

    Andrea Chapman of Buffalo, Okla., developed a fire safety education program for elementary students, along with a companion website to provide additional information.

    Christine Farmer of Knoxville, Tenn., organized a series of social events to provide a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment for students after football and basketball games. 

    Bryson McCarty of Littlefield, Texas, founded a teen group to work on ways to prevent traffic fatalities among young people.

    Christina Simpson of Georgetown, Tex., helped create a 4-H nutrition program and taught it to elementary school children in her community to address the increasing rate of childhood obesity.

    Chloe Dauwalder of Alpine, Utah, spearheaded the introduction of a bill in the Utah State Legislature to require motorists to turn on their headlights during bad weather and poor visibility. 

    Jamie Eastman of Wells River, Vt., organized a Fire Safety Week for students at a local elementary school. 

    Brian Vance of Yakima, Wash., produced an informational DVD and a classroom curriculum to educate students about the dangers of methamphetamine. 

    McKenzie Young of Huntington, W. Va., organized a skin cancer awareness program at her high school and a free public skin cancer screening at a local hospital.

    Ryan Hopkin of Powell, Wyo., improved safety conditions for young children by installing crosswalk flags at dangerous intersections around three elementary schools. 

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  • Reaching out to senior citizens +

     

    Richard Li of Danville, Calif., organized a group of middle and high school students to provide free English instruction to local Chinese senior citizens. 

    Erica Schild of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., created an organization of student volunteers who tutor senior citizens in basic computer skills and promote social interaction with seniors. 

    Stacey Squatrito of Colorado Springs, Colo., organized a teen volunteer group that gives free facials and makeovers to elderly women living in a local nursing home. 

    Luke Rockefeller of Topeka, Kans., initiated a free errand-running service to assist local senior citizens who can't get out on their own. 

    Glenn Means of Mount Sterling, Ky., founded a program that pairs young volunteers with nursing-home patients for weekly visits.

    Jolanda Burton of Amite, La., established a free, student-run service to complete tax returns for elderly and low-income residents in her community and to educate them about tax matters. 

    Dafna Gutfreund of Teaneck, N.J., organized a teen volunteer group that used the Internet to help senior citizens research and sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage plans. 

    Cindy Wang of Westfield, N.J., established a school music club that presents concerts at local senior citizen centers and nursing homes.

    Michael Sass of Pleasantville, N.Y., started a free grocery shopping and delivery service for homebound and elderly citizens in his community. 

    Haley Armstrong of Norman, Okla., initiated a collection campaign to provide dog and cat food to Meals on Wheels recipients in three towns so that they would not have to split their meals with their pets.

    Steven Eichthaler of Decatur, Tex., organized student musical performances for senior citizens at nursing homes and community events. 

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  • Campaigning against substance abuse and violence +

     

    Devany Schulz of Davenport, N. Dak., coordinated a drug- and alcohol-free "teen night" to educate fellow students about the effects of substance abuse.

    Shannon Walker of Purcellville, Va., organized a substance-abuse prevention event called "Youth Fest" which was attended by more than 1,500 young people. 

    Destiny Christianson of Inchelium, Wash., created a program that paired high school and elementary school girls to increase awareness and prevention of violence and bullying.  Back To Top
  • Providing disaster relief +

     

    Stevie Peacock of Venice, Fla., provided backpacks filled with school supplies to kindergartners at an elementary school that was ravaged by a hurricane. 

    Erica Alexander of North Miami Beach, Fla., collected hundreds of hygiene items, medications, toys, and books, and personally delivered them to Sri Lankan victims of the disastrous tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in December 2004. 

    Justin Middleton of Bowie, Md., organized a project to provide backpacks and school supplies to school children in Sri Lanka affected by the 2004 tsunami. 

    Matthew Sabo of Salisbury, N.C., collected thousands of bottles of toiletries for victims of Hurricane Katrina, along with clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies, tools, and household items. 

    Ashley Zumwalt of Choctaw, Okla., led a group that collected stuffed animals to give to children who are victims of abuse or natural disasters.

    Emily Hollingsworth of Sevierville, Tenn., collected more than 11,000 new and gently used books to help restock a Louisiana school library devastated by Hurricane Katrina. 

    Chelsea Fairbourn of Mountain Green, Utah, created a school and community campaign that collected donated items to make personal hygiene kits for disaster victims around the world. 

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  • Encouraging reading and literacy +

     

    Sydney Steely of Murfreesboro, Ark., created a six-week, library-based reading program that provided free books to 5- to 8-year-old children as a reward for completing weekly reading assignments. 

    Anne Cherniss of Los Gatos, Calif., organized a "Literature League" of after-school book clubs to encourage a love of reading among inner-city children.

    Brittany Oliver of Lafayette, Ind., initiated a program that recruits school and community volunteers to read to young children in day-care centers and after-school programs. 

    Seth Cassel of Towson, Md., created a website that promotes reading among young people by posting book reviews written by him and other students across the country. 

    Elizabeth Handel of Needham, Mass., created a program that collects donated children's books and gives them to incarcerated mothers to share with their children during prison visits. 

    Elizabeth Clair of Tacoma, Wash., founded a nonprofit organization that has provided home libraries to families who live in houses constructed by Habitat for Humanity. 

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  • Teaching, tutoring, or mentoring other young people +

     

    Diedre Graham of Mobile, Ala., produced and starred in a dance benefit to raise awareness among teenage girls about body image and self-esteem.

    Zachary Early of Austin, Ark., sparked the creation of a free day camp that taught disadvantaged children about environmental topics and substance abuse. 

    Morgan Holt of Conway, Ark., developed a program to teach weekly dance and cheerleading classes to disadvantaged children at a local Boys and Girls Club. 

    Papa Chakravarthy of Lexington, Ky., developed a program to help middle school students from low-income families grasp difficult math and science concepts.

    Cynthia Lu of Lexington, Ky., created a Chinese folk dance program to teach young people of varying ages the art of Chinese dance, and then arranged performances for her newly trained dance troupe. 

    Courtney Mota of Rehoboth, Mass., created an after-school language program for elementary school children. 

    Phil Brockman of Thompson, N.D., worked to increase enthusiasm for math and science among young people by coaching elementary school students for math competitions, and by writing math and science articles for a regional newspaper's teen page. 

    Callae Yonker of Cincinnati, Ohio, led a weekly after-school tutoring and homework assistance program for elementary-school students who were learning English as a second language.

    Sarah Wittman of Milwaukee, Wis., promoted science, technology, engineering, and math education among elementary and high school students by organizing and coaching robotics teams that compete in the FIRST robotics program. 

    Danielle McDevitt of Cheyenne, Wyo., helped educate both children and adults about the importance of American agriculture. 

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  • Taking care of animals +

     

    Erika Sloan of Simsbury, Conn., formed a youth volunteer organization that raises money for a variety of animal-welfare groups by selling specially designed animal-themed merchandise, including bracelets, shirts, magnets, and car stickers.

    Megan Nakahara of Kamuela, Hawaii, participated in a monitoring project that collects data on Hawaiian green sea turtles and raises public awareness about the plight of this endangered species. 

    Sophia Evans of Baxter Springs, Kans., collected money and pet food for homeless animals in her community and educated the public about ways to reduce the problem. 

    Elizabeth Seratt of Greenville, Miss., initiated a program that encourages pet lovers to contribute to a fund that enables prospective and current pet owners of limited means to sterilize their pets at little or no cost. 

    Brittany Pyle of Lamar, Mo., created a website for a local shelter to help find homes for stray and abandoned animals.
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  • Promoting tolerance or diversity +

     

    Abigail Hardin of Clinton, Miss., wrote a book to teach children to accept those who are different, and then used it to lead group discussions with more than a thousand schoolchildren across her state. 

    Elisa Chan of Sioux Falls, S.D., helped create the "immersion" program at her school to promote awareness of minority cultures and ease the language and cultural barriers that minority students and immigrants face. 

    Taylor Gentry of Manassas, Va., hosted a cultural festival in her community to expose residents to the diversity of people and cultures around the world. Back To Top
  • Supporting American servicemen and women +

     

    Cristina Bequer of Blythe, Calif., organized a community campaign that collected handmade greeting cards expressing support and gratitude to American servicemen and women.

    Courtney Smits of McDonough, Ga., started a campaign to support returning servicemen and women who need prosthetics or prosthetic care and to raise public awareness of the issues faced by these "wounded warriors."

    Alison Mansfield of Fort Wayne, Ind., collected personal-care items, cookies, and letters of support and sent them to service members serving in Iraq and service members recuperating in the U.S. 

    Patrick Kaltenbach of Newtonville, Mass., organized a volunteer effort that provided bags of microwave popcorn to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. 

    Eden Johnston of Mt. Olive, Miss., sewed bibs for elderly veterans at the State Veterans Home in Collins to help them maintain a sense of dignity.

    John Boatwright of Aurora, Mo., constructed a black-granite memorial in a town square to honor two soldiers from Aurora who died while fighting in Iraq.

    Kaylee Marie Radzyminski of Cleveland, Tenn., collected CDs and DVDs and sent them to U.S. soldiers overseas. 

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  • Spreading the spirit of volunteerism +

     

    Nicholas Innocenti of Oak Brook, Ill., organized a service club at his school that links students to volunteer opportunities in the community.

    Rachael Lester of Cedarburg, Wis., founded a high school chapter of Best Buddies, an international volunteer organization dedicated to fostering friendships between special-education students and peer "buddies."

    Alyssa Bisanz of Mesa, Ariz., founded a youth volunteer organization called STARS ("Students Taking Action and Responsibility through Service") to undertake volunteer projects at a local hospital. 

    Gabrielle Wilkerson of Los Angeles, Calif., started a Cancer Awareness Club at her school that raised thousands of dollars to help families of cancer-stricken children pay for expenses that insurance won't cover.

    Katherine Amigo of West Windsor, N.J., formed a performance band to raise money for worthy causes and to encourage other students to get involved in volunteering. 

    Greyson Gregory of Branford, Conn., created a website that connects local teens with service opportunities posted by nonprofits, community organizations, and other groups seeking volunteers. 

    Megan Getter of North Fort Myers, Fla., hosted a teen volunteer fair and created a volunteer directory and website to help young people find service opportunities in their community. 

    Brandon Highfill of Enid, Okla., created a community service organization through his county's 4-H program that engages young volunteers in a different service project each month. 

    Creighton Boggs of Columbia, S.C., celebrated her birthday by throwing a party for a local animal shelter and asking guests to bring donations instead of traditional presents. 

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  • Addressing needs in other countries +

     

    David Akinin of Miami, Fla., co-founded a nonprofit organization that collects shoes to protect impoverished Africans against parasites and diseases acquired by walking barefoot.

    Mihir Chaudhary of Alpharetta, Ga., formed a club at his school to raise money to help rebuild, refurbish, and resupply war-ravaged schools in Uganda.

    Daphna Katz of Potomac, Md., started a fund-raising and volunteer project to let Nigerian children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS know that they have not been forgotten.

    Daniel Dietz of Florence, Mass., performed as a "yo-yo trick master" to raise money so that poor children around the world could have surgery to correct their cleft lips and palates.

    Rachael Lambin of Gardnerville, Nev., raised money to help purchase land and build a new school for orphans in one of the largest slums in Kenya, and organized an effort to collect books for the school.

    Merrit Denison of South Jordan, Utah, designed and implemented a micro-lending program for impoverished women living near Ocotlan, Mexico.

    Sarasi Jayaratne of Potomac Falls, Va., collected books for schools in Sri Lanka that were devastated by the tsunami of 2004.

    Cori Goodwin of Leesburg, Va., raised money to buy three farm animals for an impoverished family in a third-world country.

    Sondra Clark of Bellingham, Wash., collected Frisbees, pens, toothbrushes, and shoes for children in developing countries.

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  • Helping in other ways +

     

    Michaela Hernandez of Anchorage, Alaska, chaired a campaign to educate students about the importance of voting. 

    Amanda Martin of Calabasas, Calif., made earrings, necklaces and bracelets out of guitar picks, and then sold them to raise money for a variety of charities. 

    Tawanda Davis of Washington, D.C., helped raise student awareness of citizens' rights and improve communication between police and youth in her community.

    Michelle Waters of Savannah, Ga., developed a program to provide comfort to grieving children by helping them create websites to honor the memories of lost loved ones. 

    Rebecca Sanford of La Plata, Md., collected stuffed animals and donated them to the sheriff's department so that officers can give them to children involved in scary situations.

    Allison Knott of Las Vegas, Nev., established a nonprofit organization that provides free horseback-riding lessons and events for children of military personnel, veterans, police officers, firefighters, nurses, and special-needs teachers, as a way of saying thank you to the "heroes" of her community.

    Joey Rizzolo of Paramus, N.J., organized a "Freedom Walk" in his town to remember the lives lost on 9/11 and to thank first responders, U.S. service members, and veterans. 

    Riley Hietpas of Little Chute, Wis., organized a carnival to raise funds to purchase teddy bears for children staying at a domestic abuse shelter.

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