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State Honoree

Stephanie Jackson

Kentucky

Stephanie Jackson, 17, of Ashland, Ky., a junior at Boyd County High School, established a branch of the Kentucky Youth Council on Volunteerism and Service (KYCVS) in her county and developed an innovative program to teach elementary school students the importance of volunteering. A member of KYCVS since 1998, Stephanie wanted to come up with a way to motivate and encourage young people in Boyd County to contribute to their communities. She recruited other students to join her chapter, found a corporate sponsor, and began implementing her program idea, called “Branch Out Be A Volunteer.” Stephanie and her fellow council members posted paper trees in the main lobbies of elementary schools, along with suggestions for teachers to discuss volunteering with their students. As students undertook volunteer projects, they placed individual leaves on the trees that explained what they had done. Stephanie and her cohorts then followed up by presenting assemblies and skits at the schools on volunteering. Approximately 4,000 elementary school students have participated in Stephanie’s program each year for the past three years, and plans are now being made to expand it across Kentucky. “I consider myself living proof that the values instilled in you when you are young will stay with you throughout your life,” said Stephanie.