2006 Utah Young Humanitarian – $5,000 Winner
What do Utah troops overseas, Ute Indian foster children, students with special needs, and infants in Ghana have in common? Each group has been the recipient of service initiatives undertaken by East High senior Don Willie. Don excels at motivating groups of students to assemble care packages, holiday gift bags, mentor peers with disabilities, and raise funds to feed and clothe the less fortunate here in Utah and half a world away. Don’s service club advisor describes him as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Don credits his success in rousing others to service this way: “By understanding the needs of others, I am able to plan what is best for the group, not just what sounded best at the moment.”
Monticello High School senior, Kreig Adair organizes an annual Trick or Treat Food Drive through his 4-H Club for his community’s needy. Last year, he organized every aspect of the campaign, collecting over 11,000 pounds of food—enough to feed over 700 people for a month. He has also organized community blood drives, clean-up projects, and drug, alcohol and tobacco education programs at the local elementary school. He attributes his success in helping others to his parents who have taught him determination and have been there to help him in every project. “I’ve learned it’s hard to beat a person who never gives up,” says Kreig.
The organizer behind the largest fund-raiser in Operation Smile history is Daniel Blake, a freshman at Brigham Young University. Recently, Daniel inspired 1,000 Utah students to raise $200 each—enough to provide a cleft palate operation to a child overseas—and netted over $200,000 for these surgeries. Daniel has been involved in the Operation Smile program since fi fth grade, has helped organize student associations for the non-profi t in 30 schools around the Wasatch Front, and traveled to Jordan to teach hygiene and assist with cleft palate surgeries in 2003. Wade Hooton of Operation Smile says, “It is Daniel’s compassion and concern for others that motivates him to involve and strengthen those around him.”
Designing men’s ties is an unusual way to help Korean orphans, but East High senior Ashley Kearl has made her interest in fashion design a way to feed and clothe these children. Ashley sells her designer ties and enlists dozens of others in collecting blankets, hygiene and school supplies, books and shoes for a Korean orphanage. She’s traveled there herself to deliver the items and funds. Ashley has also raised money to provide musical instruments and music camp scholarships to under privileged Salt Lake kids. Says Ashley: “When you are a willing hard-worker, you don’t sit around waiting for accolades, you get in and make it happen.”
Medical care for the homeless and indigent is a focus for University of Utah senior Lily Marsden. Whether she is volunteering at the Maliheh Charity Clinic, the Fourth Street Clinic, or in the Peruvian Amazon at a village clinic, this pre-med student uses her skills and actively enlists community physicians to the cause. Lily has also been the U of U Hunger Banquet Committee Chair and has taught basic fi rst aid to Title 1 school children in Salt Lake. Lily hopes to become a physician humanitarian and delights in bringing others to service. “Anyone who has given their time and energies to serving, even just once, can tell you the incredible fulfillment it brings.”