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State Honoree

Michelle Claverie

Idaho

Michelle Claverie, 14, of Eagle, Idaho, an eighth-grader at Eagle Middle School, created a project called “Holiday Hearts,” for which Michelle and a friend make holiday gifts and deliver them to senior citizens confined to care facilities. During visits to nursing homes with her mother, Michelle began thinking about what she could do to cheer up the residents. Together with a friend, Michelle researched various crafts they could make for senior citizens, and started with candy cane reindeers. They would spend hours making the gifts, contacting senior centers and finally making their deliveries. “When we were passing things out and visiting with the people at the care home, we learned that most of them did not have family that lived here,” said Michelle. “They were lonely, and when we came, our visit was the highlight of their day.” Since starting her program in mid-2001, Michelle has delivered gifts on every major holiday. The program has made such an impact that Michelle plans to recruit additional volunteers, contact more care centers, and conduct fundraisers to fuel the expansion. “If you just do a little it makes a very big difference,” she said.