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State Honoree

Brenden Gobell

Connecticut

Brenden Gobell, 17, of Avon, Conn., a senior at Avon High School, has prepared and served thousands of meals to residents of a local homeless shelter over the past four years, conducted eight collection drives to supply the shelter with linens and toiletries, and organized a miniature golf tournament that raised more than $1,100 for the shelter. "I truly believe that every human being has a responsibility to help those in need," said Brenden, "and to those who feel they don't have the time or desire, I challenge them to walk into a homeless shelter and rethink their position."Every other month, Brenden takes responsibility for providing a baked-ziti dinner to more than 120 residents of the South Park Inn Homeless Shelter, first contacting a local supermarket for donations, then purchasing whatever else is needed with his own funds and recruiting a friend to help him cook and serve the food. Through his collection drives - conducted at an elementary school - Brenden has supplied more than 5,000 towels, sheets and toiletry items to the shelter. His most ambitious project, however, was his miniature golf tournament. For that event, Brenden secured a miniature golf course, designed and distributed promotional flyers and posters, solicited sponsorships and raffle prizes from local businesses, and sold 180 tickets, raising $1,120 for the homeless shelter.