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State Honoree

Danielle Manning

Idaho

Danielle Manning, 16, of Meridian, Idaho, a sophomore at Capital High School in Boise, has collected more than 850 packages of diapers and $1,375 to help stock a store at a public high school for teens who are pregnant or have a child. "About 10 years ago, my cousin became pregnant at age 16, and Marian Pritchett School made it possible for her to keep her baby and still graduate," said Danielle. The school operates a store stocked with diapers and other baby items that students can "purchase" with points earned for good attendance and academic performance. When another cousin of Danielle's also became pregnant at 16 and relied on the school store for diapers, there were none in her baby's size. That's when Danielle stepped in. "I thought about all of the teen moms and how hard it must be to finish high school while trying to take care of a baby, and I wanted to help," she said.

She hosted a Christmas dinner party for 29 friends and asked each to bring a package of diapers. Next, Danielle contacted businesses and her church to ask for donations. Danielle followed that up with a diaper drive at her school, bringing her four-year collection total to more than 850 packages of diapers and more than $1,300. Danielle's project is important, she says, "because it encourages the girls by letting them know that there are people who care about them at a time when friends, boyfriends and sometimes even families turn their backs on them."