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State Honoree

Brittany Ballinger

Connecticut

Brittany Ballinger, 17, of Portland, Conn., a senior at Portland High School, tutored disadvantaged children at a low-income housing project, and then conducted a campaign to provide them with school supplies and a 1,600-book library. “Once I began tutoring, I got to know the students and became aware of the lack of resources,” said Brittany. “I wanted to give them access to resources that would help them in their studies.” Brittany, who is president of her town’s Youth Commission, persuaded the group to donate part of the proceeds from its youth dances to purchase supplies such as pens, rulers and calculators. Later, Brittany realized there was also a need for books, so she began working with her high school and local middle and elementary schools to promote a book drive and collect donations. More than 1,600 books were donated and used to start a much-needed library at the housing project. “I feel that although we can’t all change the world, we can each do our part to make a difference,” Brittany said.