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State Honoree

Aaron Shaffer

Texas

Aaron Shaffer, 14, of Pleasant Grove Middle School in Texarkana, Texas, coordinated a fishing tournament for visually impaired children in conjunction with a parents' workshop sponsored by the Texas Commission for the Blind. Aaron heard that many parents of visually impaired children could not attend this important educational workshop because they did not have anyone to care for their children. A fishing tournament was an idea that stemmed from Aaron's Boy Scout experiences, and was an activity he knew blind children did not usually get an opportunity to enjoy. He worked with the commission, and his Boy Scout troop to solicit donations for snacks and prizes, and to arrange transportation of the children from the hotel to the park where the tournament was held. He also needed to secure enough volunteers so that each child had a partner. In the end, Aaron recruited 21 volunteers, raised $1,200, and helped brighten the day for the young visually impaired children and their parents. "I would tell people not to judge others because they are different, because if you do you may be missing one of the best adventures of your life," he said.