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Within the first few minutes of meeting 9-year-old, Kristen Rodgers, it’s clear she is wise beyond her years. She stands in a tent on a rainy day at one of our community events in Kansas City, Mo., passing out free books to children.
Kristen first came up with the idea when she volunteered at the event the year before. “I realized there were no books,” she says. And she is right. At an average community event, guests of honor can receive a multitude of goods and services which may include: free groceries, health and dental screenings, haircuts, family portraits, hot meals, job placement assistance and a kids carnival.
After the event in 2013, Kristen decided to take action. She started a book drive to collect books that could be given out at the event this year. Kristen worked with family members, friends, her school and other organizations in her community to raise more than 2,000 books to pass out at the community outreach.
Kristen saw the effect of her project immediately. One child was overheard telling her, “Thank you. I was getting really tired of re-reading the same book.”
We complimented Kristen on being so young and taking the initiative to help others. When asked what she would tell those who don’t think they can make a difference because they are just kids, she says, “It’s not impossible — you just have to try.”