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State Honoree

Nchinda Nchinda

Wisconsin

Nchinda Nchinda, 12, of Oak Creek, Wis., a seventh-grader at Oak Creek East Middle School, helped create a fruit and vegetable garden at his school along with an annual "Harvest Celebration" dinner that serves the garden's produce to raise money for a local food pantry. "My dad has always told me that I should be a fixer-man,'" said Nchinda, who started volunteering when he joined his school's service-learning club.

Nchinda and other club members used funds from a Learn and Serve Grant and donations from a letter-writing campaign to purchase gardening supplies. Nchinda worked after school and during recess to prepare the soil, plant seeds, and spread fertilizer. "We turned it into a school project and assigned each classroom a section of the garden," Nchinda said. When fall arrived, he helped harvest the crops, which were then cooked and served at a fund-raising dinner that Nchinda and others coordinated. The proceeds were donated to the Second Harvest Food Pantry. "I feel good knowing that we helped a couple more people in the world rest easy," Nchinda said. "If everybody helped everybody else, the world would be a much better place."