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State Honoree

Andrew Gawrych

Kansas

Andrew Gawrych, 17, of Leavenworth High School in Leavenworth, Kansas, turned a simple idea into a student-run, teen volunteer organization whose members have contributed hundreds of hours to community service. Teen Core, the group Andrew founded and for which he serves as president, grew from Andrew's realization that his school did not offer any structured forum for volunteer opportunities. "Volunteering is always more fun and appealing when done in groups," Andrew believed, so he created his own group without adult guidance through which teens could help themselves by helping others. From bell-ringing for the Salvation Army to assisting Reading is Fundamental, Teen Core's members have lent their helping hands to various organizations in need. They've also initiated projects on their own, including visiting the elderly and storytelling at an elementary school. "We wanted to prove that when left alone, teens can lead themselves and engage in beneficial pursuits," Andrew said. "I think Teen Core validates the point that we are
not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today as well."