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State Honoree

Joel Joseph

District Of Columbia

Joel Joseph, 13, of Washington, D.C., an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School, has volunteered in a wide variety of activities over the past several years to help hurricane victims, homeless people, soldiers in Iraq, and students in Uganda. His motivation came from watching his father, Joel said. "He always does his best to help others. I saw this and tried to copy him by doing whatever I could."

First, Joel canvassed his school and community to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina, collecting $300. Then he participated in a fund-raising walk to benefit the homeless, and collected donations for the Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund. Later, he participated in efforts to collect and purchase sunscreen for U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq, and to write letters and send pictures to the troops overseas. Joel also took part in a drive to gather school supplies for disadvantaged Ugandan students. "I work hard, I care about others, and know that everything that I do will benefit someone else twice as much," he said.