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State Honoree

Elizabeth Hammer

Ohio

Elizabeth Hammer, 17, of Hudson, Ohio, a senior at Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron, organized a volunteer tutoring program linking high school students with underachieving elementary school children at Seton Catholic School. While looking for a community service project, Elizabeth spoke to teachers at Seton. The school needed volunteer tutors, and Elizabeth soon realized that she had the right combination of skills and experiences to create a successful program. She first interviewed parents and teachers to determine the specific needs of the children, and then recruited and trained five teen volunteers. Tutoring sessions began in November 1999, and were an immediate success. Within months, Elizabeth had 30 teen volunteers working with over one-fifth of Seton’s students. Last year, a Seton student wrote an essay about the most influential person in his life. “He chose to write about his tutor,” Elizabeth said. “I realized then that I had the ability to make a difference in the lives of many people. I hope others choose to volunteer their time to serve those in need.”