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State Honoree

Caitlin Steiger

Tennessee

Caitlin Steiger, 17, of Memphis, Tenn., a junior at White Station High School, organized an annual 5-kilometer running race that has brought in nearly $50,000 to benefit Hope House, a daycare center for underprivileged children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. “The children are so innocent, and without Hope House, many of them would have nowhere to go,” she explained. Caitlin, an avid cross-country runner, began participating in local 5K road races when she was in the eighth grade, and after learning about Hope House, felt a benefit race would be a great fund-raiser for the center. She met with a local running club to get information on how to organize a race, and then wrote hundreds of letters seeking corporate sponsors and food donations. Caitlin also promoted the event by designing brochures and distributing press releases. Finally, she organized a crew of volunteers who assisted with race registration, water stops and other tasks. The first year, Caitlin’s event raised more than $23,000, and last November, her second race generated approximately $25,000. Caitlin will turn the event over to another organizer next year, as she prepares for college. After last November’s race, Hope House’s executive director announced that the event in coming years will be called Caitlin’s Help for Hope House 5K Run in honor of its founder.