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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Emilee Ellison

Emilee Ellison

West Virginia

Emilee Ellison, 12, of Parkersburg, W. Va., a member of the Wood County 4-H in Parkersburg and a sixth-grader at Williamstown Elementary School, launched a project called Operation: Spread the Love to perform random acts of kindness to others in her community, and encourage the beneficiaries of her kindness to do the same. My family has always viewed Valentines Day as a golden opportunity to show love to our friends and family, said Emilee. After finding out that Valentines week was also Random Acts of Kindness week, I decided to take things a step further and come up with small projects that could put smiles on the faces of others.

She tried out her idea on her 4-H club by having members write compliments to each other on cut-out hearts, and spoke to them about ways they could spread random acts of kindness to others. She gave a similar talk to her fifth-grade class. Next, Emilee gathered some friends to begin her own acts of kindness. One weekend, they spent over 14 hours packaging homemade crafts and goodies into hundreds of baggies, and then distributed them both to acquaintances and to strangers. One of Emilees favorite acts is using colored chalk to decorate driveways, sidewalks and concrete walls with rainbows, hearts, smiling faces, and inspirational words and sentiments at the homes of friends or anyone she knows who could use a smile, she said.