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State Honoree

Ashlee Kephart

Minnesota

Ashlee Kephart, 11, of Brooklyn Center, Minn., a member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Minneapolis and a sixth-grader at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Brooklyn Park, collected more than $800 worth of musical items to bring the gift of music to families staying at a local Ronald McDonald House. “I wanted to share my love of music and to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Ashlee, who has played the violin since she was 4 years old, and also plays the piano. When Ashlee came up with the idea for her program, “Music from the Heart,” she approached the staff of the Ronald McDonald House. “They loved it,” Ashlee said, so she wrote and sent solicitation letters to local businesses – and received donations of CDs, musical toys, radios, and karaoke machines. Some donations came in the form of gift cards or cash, which Ashlee used to purchase additional items. While she said she enjoyed everything about her project, Ashlee was particularly gratified to see the faces of the children light up when she delivered her gifts.