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State Honoree

Kathryn Calmus

South Dakota

Kathryn Calmus, 18, of Volga, S.D., a senior at Sioux Valley High School, developed “Forget-Me-Not,” an intergenerational program that provides companionship and service to elderly shut-ins and senior citizens through a band of teen volunteers. Katie, an active member of her local chapter of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, felt that the projects she worked on through the group didn’t focus enough on bridging the generation gap. So, she decided to build the bridge herself. She began by conducting a survey of community leaders, which identified service to the elderly as the biggest need. Katie forged relationships with area senior centers and agencies, and recruited fellow students to serve as volunteers. The projects Katie planned included a senior citizen prom, a Grandparent’s Day celebration, the preparation and delivery of holiday meals for shut-ins, fund-raisers for Parkinson’s Disease, holiday parties, and more, all involving both youth and seniors in an effort to bring the generations closer together. “This project has helped me find my spirit and developed a part of who I am today,” said Katie.