Kelsie Marple, 13, of Salem, W.Va., an eighth-grader at Doddridge County Middle School in West Union, gave up much of her summer vacation last year to serve as a youth volunteer at a six-week educational program for 40 children from rural and low-income communities across West Virginia. "I love to read, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to encourage younger children to read," Kelsie said.
As a youth volunteer, Kelsie read one-on-one to the children, helping them sound out and pronounce words. She also used her artistic talents to show children how to draw different objects, and helped out with other art and writing activities. At breakfast and lunchtime, she set tables, served food, and cleaned up. "My main goal was to have a good time and to make sure the learning process was just as much fun for the kids," Kelsie said. While working in the program, Kelsie also assisted with a walkathon to collect canned goods for a local food pantry and articles of clothing for a local church.