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State Honoree

Nicole Wells

Mississippi

Nicole Wells, 13, of McComb, Miss., a member of the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi in Jackson and an eighth-grader at North Pike Middle School in Summit, started a program called “Pencil In to Learning” that has collected more than $1,000 worth of school supplies for needy children. “I live in a very poor area where too many children do without basic necessities,” said Nicole. “I thought if we could help needy children get their school supplies, we might be able to bring up Mississippi’s test scores.” Nicole worked with principals from elementary schools in her county to get lists of required supplies and needy children. She then asked businesses for cash and in-kind donations, and promoted the program through the news media, her church, the Girl Scouts and a local sorority, through which she also recruited volunteers. After packaging her collected supplies into individual bags, Nicole distributed them during a “pick-up” day she arranged at a local shopping center. In the end, Nicole was able to help 125 children be better prepared for school. Donations continued to come in afterwards, and Nicole planned to buy school uniforms with the additional funds.