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State Honoree

Amy Cada


Amy Cada, 17, of Downers Grove South High School in Downers Grove, Illinois, launched an organization called International Kids Kare-USA to promote teen volunteerism as a memorial to her best friend, who died of cancer. After years of searching for a way to honor her friend's memory, Amy heard of a national recycling campaign to collect pop tops to benefit Ronald McDonald houses across the country. Amy decided that she would supplement the Ronald McDonald house campaign with her own campaign targeted at teens. She started small by initiating the program in her own school. Success at that level took Amy to the school district, and to the state association of student councils, and eventually nationwide. Today, International Kids Kare-USA provides a ten-page how-to kit, a monthly newsletter and a website, all coordinated by Amy. She has traveled across the country to meet with local Ronald McDonald houses and school districts to drum up support for the project. Last year, students collected over one million pop tops; Amy's 1998 goal is to collect one billion. "I tell young people that service to others can be done any day, anytime, anywhere," Amy said.