MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Kohl’s Department Stores announced the 10 national winners of the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program. These exceptional youth, ranging in age from six to 18, are the recipients of a total of $10,000 in scholarships each for higher education. In addition to the scholarships, Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization of each winner’s choice.
Winners are chosen based on initiative, leadership, generosity and project benefits and outcome. This year’s winners were selected from more than 37,000 youth nominees nationwide for their volunteer efforts.
National scholarship recipients include:
* Grace Soultanian, 12, Shirley, Mass.
Grace created HEARTSTRONG, a nonprofit that raises awareness and money to purchase Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), for area schools, athletic fields and other facilities. Through various fundraising efforts, Grace has raised $7,000 to help fund seven new AEDs, which are now in place at local parks and field houses.
* Ryan Anderson, 18, Cedarburg, Wis.
After noticing the piles of school supplies kids toss away, Ryan created The ReLearn Foundation, dedicated to collecting gently used school supplies to be donated to students around the world. Last year Ryan collected more than 1,500 pounds of school supplies that were donated to schools in Guatemala and Jamaica.
* Hannah Bergwell, 18, Overland Park, Kans.
After witnessing her autistic brother’s struggles to build social relationships with his classmates, Hannah created Art for Autism, an art club offering a safe, low stress environment for students with autism to meet, interact and develop relationships with their classmates. Art for Autism has donated $18,000 to Autism Speaks.
* Dahkota Brown, 15, Jackson, Calif.
After learning that Native American teens have the highest suicide rates and the highest high school dropout rates in the United States, Dahkota created NERDS (Native Education Raising Dedicated Students), a positive peer-to-peer youth group dedicated to helping Native American high school students understand the importance of education and create a network of support.
* Emily Christensen, 11, Manchester, Connecticut
Emily created Crayons for Cancer, a nonprofit committed to helping ease the financial burdens placed on families whose children are suffering from cancer by selling wax creations made by melting a box of old crayons. The group has raised more than $73,000 and has built partnerships with three children’s hospitals in the United States to provide parking passes, meal tickets and lodging for family members during their child’s hospital stay.
* Sarah Dewitz, 14, Orlando, Fla.
Sarah created the Just One Book organization and launched a bookmobile to collect and distribute books to low income families throughout Central Florida. To date, Just One Book has provided more than 200,000 books to children in Florida and is expanding services to New Jersey this year.
* Zachary Rice, 11, Long Valley, N.J.
While in the hospital with a hip infection, Zachary found minor pain relief while playing the hospital’s video gaming system. The distraction motivated him to start The Action For Distraction 5K Family Fun Run/Walk & Kids Action Marathon, an event in which more than 300 participants raised $18,500 last year.
* Rachel Ritchie, 10, Vine Grove, Ky.
After noticing some disabled children unable to play at the local playground because the equipment was physically inaccessible, Rachel started Rachel’s Fun For Everyone Project, a plan to build a new area playground that children of all abilities could enjoy. Rachel collected $36,000 for the project and doesn’t plan on stopping until the accessible playground is complete.
* Adena Rochelson, 14, Fayetteville, N.Y.
Adena created Operation Soap Dish, an organization that collects and donates personal and household items to area food pantries and other organizations that help those less fortunate. Adena has collected more than 18,000 items.
* Anna Sun, 12, Canton, Mich.
Wanting to make sure music lessons and stringed instruments were available to area school children, Anna started The Little Stars Foundation, a nonprofit committed to youth music education. Together with local high school music teachers, the group offers free violin workshops and has raised more than $1,500 to purchase five violins for children who could not afford them.