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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Amara Sanguni

Amara Sanguni

Alaska

Amara Sanguni, 13, of Juneau, Alaska, a member of the Girl Scouts of Alaska in Anchorage and a seventh-grader at Floyd Dryden Middle School, works on a variety of events each year to raise money so that families in need, people with disabilities, veterans and senior citizens can get free food through a food pantry in Juneau. Amara became aware of the pantry, Helping Hands, when her family benefited from its services after moving to Juneau 10 years ago. "I thought volunteering would be a little way to thank Helping Hands for helping my family and a way to help other people in need," she said.

Her first volunteer activity was working at a Halloween carnival. "It was really fun," she said, "and I got really hooked." Since then, Amara has helped raise funds each year not only at the Halloween event, but by assisting with food sales at Juneau's Gold Rush Days and Fourth of July celebration, by wrapping Christmas gifts, and by selling tickets for an annual dinner and auction. These activities take up a lot of her spare time, she said, and require flexibility, effective people skills, and the willingness to do whatever's asked of her. Over the past year alone, Amara has helped generate nearly $24,000, which has enabled Helping Hands to distribute almost 100,000 pounds of food to people in need. "I absolutely love the fact that families and others in need are getting help because of my volunteering," she said.