Elizabeth Hughes, 11, of Bedford, N.H., a member of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains in Bedford and a home-schooled fifth-grader, has spent eight weeks over the past two years volunteering in foreign countries with her family, donating supplies and working on construction projects. Elizabeth has been participating in her family's nonprofit organization, "Color My World," since she was 3 years old. "We have been volunteering as a family since I learned to walk," said Elizabeth. "I love volunteering and working with people."
She began her volunteer work by collecting and packaging hygiene items with her older siblings for distribution to victims of natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. For the past two years, Elizabeth has traveled with her family and other volunteers to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to deliver hygiene kits and toys; build houses, latrines and playgrounds; provide support for libraries; teach art classes; and help feed children living in poverty. Closer to home, Elizabeth and her family also have volunteered at a local women's homeless shelter, and collected Thanksgiving baskets for struggling families in their community. "I would tell other people that you are never too young to start volunteering," said Elizabeth. "All you have to do is reach out and be a friend to someone."