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Joshua Williams from Miami Beach, FL wins First Place Gee Whiz Kids™ Award
Washington, DC - Joshua Williams from Miami Beach, FL was awarded First Place for the 2011 Gee Whiz Kids™ Award given by the Heart of America Foundation®.

When Joshua was five years old he began to recognize the need for food aid within his own community and across the world, and decided to start an organization focused on feeding the hungry. With the help of family, he founded Joshua’s Heart Foundation, which strives to “Stomp out Hunger” in underprivileged communities and increase awareness of global hunger issues. The organization provides food aid to people in South Florida by hosting regular food distributions, and is looking to expand its reach to other parts of Florida and the nation. 

In addition to providing food aid, the Foundation also renovated a local teen center. Joshua raised the money needed for the renovation by asking people to make a donation to his Foundation in lieu of gifts for his eighth birthday. He raised $5,000, which was used to donate computers, desks, and furniture.  

Most recently, Joshua launched a program to provide backpacks of food to school children to help ensure children have food available to them over weekends and school vacations. Each backpack is filled with child-friendly, nonperishable food items, and discreetly distributed before a child leaves school. 

Five years after his initial idea to help people, Joshua is in 6th grade and his organization provides much needed food relief for over 100 homeless people, and about 450 families, on a monthly basis. In all, Joshua’s Heart Foundation has distributed over 300,000 pounds of food, serving over 7,000 people in need.

Sarah Young from Leesburg, OH wins Second Place Gee Whiz Kids™ Award
Washington, DC - Sarah Young from Leesburg, OH was awarded Second Place for the 2011 Gee Whiz Kids™ Award given by the Heart of America Foundation®.

Sarah Young is an active participant in the Highland County 4-H program. In 2010, the program was struggling to raise the necessary $50,000 in annual local funding to support a 2011 season. Recognizing the importance of 4-H, Sarah Young, at the tender age of ten, raised nearly $32,000 to help save the program in Highland County. 

Sarah raised much of the funds by donating proceeds from the sale of her market lamb. She spent nearly 150 hours speaking with the news media, clubs, and schools to generate interest in 4-H, and rallied donors to bid over $12,900 for her lamb – which generally would sell for about $450. All proceeds from the sale went toward the County’s 4-H program.  Approximately 130 other exhibitors, impressed by her efforts, enthusiasm and vision, also donated all or part of their proceeds, which brought in another $9,000. Finally, her efforts convinced and inspired three local businesses to contribute $10,000 to the 4-H program, bringing her yearend total to just under $32,000, and providing much needed support to continue the program.  

After funding was secured for 2011, Sarah turned her attention to raising money for the 2012 season. To kick off her fundraising she implemented the “Yes We Can” campaign with the help of the Marshall Stockmen 4-H Club. An aluminum can collection campaign, “Yes We Can” promotes recycling and environmentalism and all proceeds benefit the 2012 4-H season. When speaking about 4-H, Sarah said, “4H isn’t about pigs and sheep and cows, it’s about kids learning to become self-sufficient, to grow into tomorrow’s leaders. Letting this program fail would be letting yourself down.” So far the campaign has collected over half a million cans, amassing over $16,000. 

The Gee Whiz Kids™ Award is given to children age 12 and under
who exemplify the value of service in America.

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Gabrielle Pathrose from Mason, OH wins Third Place Gee Whiz Kids™ Award
Washington, DC - Gabrielle Pathrose from Mason, OH was awarded Third Place for the 2011 Gee Whiz Kids™ Award given by the Heart of America Foundation®.

Gabrielle Pathrose is passionate about serving people in her community, and helping people in need around the world.  She is an active volunteer at Chesterwood Village nursing home in West Chester during Easter and Christmas, as well as a regular at Cedar Village retirement community in Mason, OH throughout the rest of the year. 

Since early 2011 she has served as a Junior Volunteer at Cedar Village, contributing more than 70 hours helping residents with physical therapy, guiding them to and from the lunch room, and assisting nurses.  She has played the violin since she was seven, and will often play a few pieces while the residents eat lunch, or during special occasions. She continues to serve at Cedar Village throughout the school year for three hours each week after school.

In addition to her work at Cedar Village and Chesterwood, Gabrielle often raises money through hosting concerts outside her local grocery stores.  With the help of her older brother, they raised over $1,800 for the American Red Cross to support international disaster relief. 

On top of her other volunteer activities, Gabrielle teamed up with her brother to fundraise for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and to collect toys for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.  By selling cold water to spectators on hot, summer days at the soccer field, they raised nearly $600 for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  Then, they collected over 200 stuffed animals and toys for children in the burn unit of the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. 

An excellent student with a passion for serving others, The Heart of America Foundation® is proud to recognize her commitment to service!

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More information about the Gee Whiz Kids™ Award or the Heart of America Foundation® can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.heartofamerica.org or by contacting Colleen Noland at colleen@heartofamerica.org.

Founded in 1997, the Heart of America’s focus is to provide children in need everywhere with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference. A national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC, its programs uniquely combine volunteerism and literacy. Since 1997, it has provided children living in poverty with over 1.8 million books and has helped volunteers serve more than 1,020,000 hours giving back to the community.

CONGRATULATIONS! 2011 Gee Whiz Kids™ Award

Heroes of the Heart™ Gee Whiz Kids™ Award [download application]

AWARD WINNERS:    2016  • 2015  •  2014  •  2013  •  2012  •  2011  •  2010  •  2009

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