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State Honoree

James Buck

Maryland

established a committee at his school to help homeless people, and then helped four other schools set up similar committees. After volunteering at a soup kitchen and seeing children his age without food, shelter or adequate clothing, James knew he had to help. “I realized that homeless people were not just men on the streets begging for money but kids like me,” James said. “Instead of depending on the government and area churches to help, I believed that kids could and should do something,” he stated. He recruited 25 fellow students to form a committee at his school, which he named STARSHIP -- “Students Taking Avenues to Resolve and Stop Homelessness In Prince Georges County.” The committee members adopted four homeless families and two local shelters, raising money and soliciting donations of food, clothing, toiletries, books and school supplies from the student body and local businesses. They wrote dozens of letters to community organizations, newspapers and merchants asking for support, visited nursing homes, and talked to government officials. James also presented his committee idea to students at the four other middle schools in Prince Georges County, and all four ended up developing their own STARSHIP programs. “It takes a whole world of kids and people like me to help out and encourage others to do the same. Kids helping kids is a MUST.”