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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Nicholas Cobb

Nicholas Cobb

Texas

Nicholas Cobb, 15, of Allen, Texas, a sophomore at Allen High School, has been volunteering to help the homeless for more than 10 years, and most recently formed a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $20,000 to buy coats for 385 homeless families in his community. "When I was 4, I saw a family living under a bridge and wondered why they were there," said Nicholas. "My parents explained that they were homeless, and I just couldn't understand how that could be." Since then, Nicholas has been working to make life easier for people who have fallen on hard times. "I have researched homelessness and know that it could happen to anyone," he said. Nicholas began with small projects such as collecting toiletries and organizing a community supply drive. He then decided that he wanted to do something that would have more long-term effects, such as helping people stay warm. He did all the research and filed the paperwork for his organization and then built a website. Nicholas solicited donations, assembled a team of volunteers and organized fundraisers such as email campaigns, car washes, penny drives and a golf tournament. He also applied for grants, won cash awards, obtained matching funds from companies, and persuaded a national coat chain to let him buy coats at a discount. Nicholas now is focusing on providing suits for the homeless to wear to job interviews, as well as book stipends for homeless students going off to college. Of his efforts, Nicholas said. "There is so much need in the world. You can't really feel bad or sad about anything when you are doing something to help someone else."