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State Honoree

Kimberly Turner

New Mexico

Kimberly Turner, 13, of Alamogordo, N.M., a seventh-grader at Chaparral Middle School, started an annual school and community drive to collect donated blankets and toiletries for victims of domestic violence. Kimberly learned about these victims through the Center of Protective Environment (COPE), a shelter in Alamogordo. "They leave their homes with nothing, and they need everything to start a new life free from abuse," Kimberly said.

To help address their needs, Kimberly conducted a "Blanket and Bath Blitz" at her school to collect bedsheets, blankets, towels and bath supplies for women and children staying at COPE. The next year Kimberly expanded her "Blitz" to include two other middle schools and local businesses. She made posters, created a public service announcement for local radio stations, arranged for drop-off locations throughout the community, and then collected and delivered all of the donated items to COPE. Kimberly also conducted a fund-raiser at her school to help pay the veterinarian bills for a dog that was attacked by a group of students. "I would tell other people to get involved because you never know who you have helped, or if one day you will be the person needing the help," said Kimberly.