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State Honoree

Ellen Neff

Vermont

Ellen Neff, 14, of Chester, Vt., an eighth-grader at Green Mountain Union High School, volunteers at a local food and clothing bank for disadvantaged families, serves meals to senior citizens, and is an active member of her school service club. When Ellen learned that her community’s family center needed volunteers, she decided to help. “I thought that helping out at the family center was important because the people that run it were getting older and there is a lot to do there,” she said. Ellen carries food and other items up and down the stairs, sorts clothing, takes out trash, runs the cash register, restocks shelves, and helps keep the center neat. At the senior dinners, she helps serve beverages and second helpings. “I ran around more so that the older people got what they wanted fast and didn’t have to wait for it,” Ellen said. Ellen says that she learned many different things from her service, including compassion for those in need. “I learned more about myself and what makes me happy, and how lucky I am for what I have and what I can do to give to others.”