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State Honoree

Amy Holiday

California

Amy Holiday, 17, of Granite Bay, Calif., a senior at Granite Bay High School, organized book drives at five local schools and collected more than 10,000 books to create a lending library at a home for abused and neglected children. While working on previous projects at the Sacramento Children's Home, Amy noticed that the facility had no place for its young residents to find and enjoy books. "I know how comforting books are," Amy said. "To provide a library of books to children who had been neglected their whole lives seemed like a remedy for that isolation and loneliness." After speaking with the principal of the shelter's school, Amy persuaded administrators at five local schools to let her conduct a two-month book collection campaign. She delivered speeches at school assemblies, distributed flyers and donation boxes to each school, and picked up donated books twice a week. Then, with hundreds of boxes in her garage, Amy spent weeks sorting the books, placing labels in each one, cataloguing them into a database, and finally placing them on newly built shelves. She also obtained donations of library furniture and supplies from local businesses. The new library, Amy said, "will benefit every one of the 1,800 kids who are admitted (to the home) yearly, and for most of those young people, it will be their first exposure to reading." The young residents also will benefit from "Page Turners," a program Amy launched with surplus book donations, which allows the children to choose three favorite books to take with them when they move to foster homes.