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State Honoree

Brittnii Watts

South Carolina

Brittnii Watts, 18, of Sumter, S.C., a senior at Sumter High School, has organized a free summer "Kids Day" for the past three years that has given more than 500 underprivileged children a fun and educational opportunity that she never had while growing up. "I was always disappointed that my parents could never afford to send me to a summer camp," Brittnii said, "and I knew that when I got the opportunity, I wanted to do something for kids just like me." She also wanted to combat childhood obesity by teaching children about healthy lifestyles.

Each year Brittnii distributes more than 1,500 flyers throughout her community to advertise her one-day camp, arranges transportation for all of the participants, recruits teachers and student volunteers from her school to serve as chaperones, puts together a detailed schedule, and plans all of the activities. When Kids Day arrives, children get to play tennis, soccer, tug-of-war and other games, eat a healthy lunch, and learn the importance of staying physically fit. The success of Brittnii's Kids Day is reflected in part by the many letters and e-mails of thanks she receives from the parents of kids who attend. "It is extremely difficult to convey through words the magnificent feeling you get when you help others," said Brittnii. "The joy that I have experienced is just as rewarding as the joy I have given."