Josephine Lavoie, 11, of Somerset, Massachusetts, a seventh-grader at Adventure Homeschool Academy, established a foundation to support the array of volunteer initiatives that she has taken on over the past several years. These projects include creating a Little Free Library in her town, hosting community cleanup days, running an annual toy drive for Boston Children’s Hospital, and raising money for research into dysautonomia, a condition that affects Josephine. “I come up with ideas for projects based on what needs are out there in my community,” she said. “I am blessed with so much that I want to bless others, too, so that they know they are loved and cared about.”
One of Josephine’s favorite activities is conducting a duffel bag drive each year for children in foster care. “It breaks my heart knowing that often times foster care children either come to their foster homes with nothing, or with a trash bag of items,” she said. With help from her parents and grandparents, Josephine collects duffel bags and items that would be useful or appealing to a child. Then she fills her mother’s van with the bags and delivers them to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Hundreds of foster kids have received one of Josephine’s duffel bags filled with “nice things so that they would always hold onto hope that things will get better,” she said.