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Meet the State Honorees: Supporting Those in Need

Friday, February 22, 2019

Meet some 2019 State Honorees who are providing people in need with food, relief supplies, funding and more.

A few years ago, Adom Appiah’s history teacher introduced the class to the 20Time Project, an initiative that challenges students to come up with a project that benefits others. Adom decided he wanted his project to incorporate sports with community service. So he collected donations on his 13th birthday, then used them as seed money to host a celebrity basketball benefit. “I felt helping my community through sports was important, because sports is a unifier,” said Adom, now a freshman at Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina.

Today, Adom’s charity, “Ball4Good,” has raised tens of thousands of dollars for nonprofit organizations in his community, and mobilized hundreds of supporters to help. His basketball events and donation drives have funded a Boys and Girls Club summer camp, helped a rescue mission buy items from its wish list, supported child abuse prevention efforts at a child advocacy center, and more.

Adom isn’t the only honoree lending a helping hand to those in need.

  • Chloe Christensen, an eighth-grader at Bernard C. Campbell Middle School in Missouri, has collected and donated tens of thousands of pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that sends shoes around the globe to children and adults who can’t afford them.
  • Matthew Reel, a sixth-grader at Cox Intermediate School in Texas, has been helping to feed hungry kids and adults since 2015 by distributing food packets through a Houston mission and packing weekend food backpacks for kids from food-insecure households.
  • Keegan Figueroa, an eighth-grader at Mooreville Middle School in Mississippi, helped collect medicine, baby formula, batteries and other necessities, then deliver them to his father’s native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
  • Eden Sapien, an eighth-grader at Stetson Hills Elementary School in Arizona, assembled toiletry bags of soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion collected from local hotels, and then delivered them to a local rescue mission.
  • Feven Tadele, a seventh-grader at St. Augustine Catholic School in the District of Columbia, has given back to her community and beyond in many ways, including packing food for people in need and traveling to Ethiopia to help people living in poverty.
  • Raegan Junge, an eighth-grader at Benton Community Schools in Iowa, has raised money over the past seven years to send relief supplies to victims of natural disasters, and to provide homeless veterans with essential items and an annual Christmas party.
  • Julia Cuddy, a senior at Needham High School in Massachusetts, founded the Boston chapter of The Shoebox Project for Shelters, a nonprofit that distributes gift-wrapped shoeboxes filled with new personal care items and gifts to homeless women during the holidays.
  • Emma Eimers, a seventh-grader at Endeavour Middle School in Michigan, has been helping her older brother feed Detroit’s homeless and hungry once a week since she was 5 years old, and started her own project to make sure that their pets also receive healthy meals.
  • Karlee Albertson, a sixth-grader at Castle Rock Middle School in Montana, has raised money over the past six years to buy anonymous Christmas gifts for struggling families and individuals, by painting nails at school events and community venues.
  • Jackson Bentham, a sixth-grader at Somerset Academy Lone Mountain in Nevada, held a food and toiletry drive at his school to benefit service members returning from combat, and then held a raffle that raised money to buy toilet paper for veterans in need.
  • Rebecca Hatt, an eighth-grader at Biddeford Middle School in Maine, spearheaded a project to raise money for sanitary napkins and tampons for homeless women in her community, working with fellow Girl Scouts to buy and distribute numerous boxes of feminine hygiene products.

We’ll be profiling this year’s State Honorees now through the #PruSpirit2019 national recognition events in Washington, D.C. You can find the stories of all this year’s state-level honorees at