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State Honoree

Andrew Dunckelman

Louisiana

Andrew Dunckelman, 15, of Houma, La., a sophomore at Vandebilt High School, created a volunteer program called “Sense”ible Service that provides five different services to the elderly and infirm, each designed to appeal to one of the five senses. After reading an article about the many homebound people who are unable to enjoy Thanksgiving, Andrew felt called upon to ease the sadness that plagues those hobbled by age or illness. He carefully assessed the problem, developed a plan, and presented it to a variety of civic groups. He then began working by himself out of his home, distributing surplus eyeglasses to those unable to purchase them, delivering free hot meals, and taking pets on visits to the elderly. His program also provides shut-ins with musical entertainment and flowers to brighten their day. Within a few months, “Sense”ible Service grew to include more than 55 student volunteers serving nearly 700 sick and elderly individuals. Andrew considers it a service of joy. “I will never forget the first time an elderly person referred to me as family,” Andrew said. “I knew that as members of a family, we must selflessly aid in meeting the total needs of other family members.”