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State Honoree

Ashley Keene

Missouri

Ashley Keene, 12, of Tipton Junior High in Tipton, Missouri, turned a trip to the nursing home where her grandmother worked into a regular series of visits intended to cheer and comfort the residents. Ashley reads to the residents, plays games with them, sings to them, polishes the female residents' nails, serves meals, and just sits and talks with those who have no one else. Though it was difficult at first for Ashley to understand the mood swings many of the residents experienced during her visits, she has begun to realize that all she needs to do is sit quietly and smile. "I learned that elderly people are just like young children who need to be told and shown that someone is thinking of their feelings," said Ashley.