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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Vani Sharma

Vani Sharma

Fishers, Indiana

Vani Sharma, 11, of Fishers, Ind., a sixth-grader at Sand Creek Intermediate School, has been visiting the Ronald McDonald House at Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis regularly for several years to prepare meals and entertain the families of hospitalized children. She also conducted a collection drive to provide books and toys to the kids at the facility. Several years ago, when Vani’s sister was a patient at the hospital, Vani and her family ate at the Ronald McDonald House on several occasions. “Every day, volunteers would prepare and serve two meals for the families,” Vani said. “After my sister was discharged, I felt like it was my turn to give back.”

On the days she volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, Vani helps her mother decide on the menu and goes with her to shop for groceries. She then performs cooking tasks such as making salads and baking cookies. They transport the food and unload it at the hospital, and serve the meals to families. The Sharma sisters also play music during meals for the guests. “After so many years of serving food there, a lot of people know me by name,” said Vani. “The smiles on their faces and the blessings they shower for my service has been the strongest motivation for me to continue.” Vani also has volunteered to pick up litter at a nearby park, and collected school supplies for children affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.