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State Honoree

Erika Johnson

Nebraska

Erika Johnson, 14, of Bayard Junior High School in Bayard, Nebraska, has spent the past several years visiting and volunteering at a local nursing home. Living across the street from the nursing home has made it easy to drop by and visit the residents, and as she got older Erika's visits became more substantial. The activities director now allows Erika to plan special activities for the residents and accompany them on walks. A great deal of her free time on weekends, holidays and in the summer is spent comforting and caring for the residents, whom she considers to be like grandmothers and grandfathers to her, and she often just drops by after school for a quick hello. "I feel by volunteering that I have received as much, if not more, from these individuals than I have given to them," said Erika.