The road to the 2010 Olympics started at an early age for Hamline University first-year student Ashlee Kephart. She began her first volunteer project at age nine; by age 16 she had founded her own non-profit organization, Kids for a Better World
, which encourages young people to make a difference through volunteer and educational activities locally and around the world.
Kephart had a world stage on Monday, January 18 when she carried the Olympic flame as part of the torch relay that will eventually end at the opening ceremonies in Vancouver. She was one of only ten teens in the United States chosen for the honor by the Coca-Cola Company, because of a positive and inspiring impact on the community.
“Kids for a Better World is actually a combination of all the non-profits I’ve created since I was really little,” Kephart said. “The main goal is to get youth involved in volunteering and to get items to people who need them locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Through her volunteer efforts, Kephart has collected and distributed 65,000 pairs of shoes for underprivileged families, 15,000 “Caring Bags” of personal care products for the homeless, 10,000 books for children in hospitals and orphanages, and 4,000 backpacks for victims of disasters.