2011 USA Student Finalists

Rachel Bair
Hudson High School (Hudson)

A Blanket for Beautiful
A Blanket for Beautiful’ helps Ethiopian women with fistulas, or holes created from obstructed labor during childbirth. These women leak urine and/or feces continuously until they reach a fistula clinic, where they’re given blankets to comfort and warm them. ABFB raised $1,100 to pay for one fistula surgery and shipped 30 handmade blankets to the Hamlin Fistula Clinic in Ethiopia.

Emily Bicknese
Home Schooled (Elgin)

Grandma, Will You Read to Me?
This program involves recording nursing home residents reading children’s picture books, and then sending these CD recordings and books, along with individualized pictures and names of the grandparents, to English-speaking orphanages around the world. Through the spoken and written word, my community and I have helped lonely elderly find purpose, joy, and fulfillment by bringing needy orphans delight and inspiration.

Sarah Day
Grundy Center High School (Grundy Center)

Shades of Relief
My goal in starting Shades of Relief was to provide a way for myself and other students to use our creative and artistic abilities to make a difference in the lives of suffering people all over the world. Shades of Relief empowers young people by encouraging them to make a difference in their world with whatever talents they possess.

Austin Demers
Storm Lake St. Mary’s School (Storm Lake)

Organ Donation Awareness
Every day people die due to the shortage of organs available. After surviving my own transplant in 2008, I realize how important organ donation is. My goal is to raise awareness of organ donation and to persuade others to make an educated decision. Everyone has the power to make a difference. Life is a gift. Live life…then give life..

Joshua Dutler
OA-BCIG/Dual Enrolled (Ida Grove)

Eco-Tourism of Iowa (ETI)
Eco-Tourism of Iowa is designed to help create an inexpensive form of tourism for the community, that gives the participants both an education of, and appreciation for our nature parks and preserves, through a self-guided Eco-Education Trail. This will foster knowledge of, and sense of responsibility for the conservation of these areas.

William (Billy) Dyke
Sidney Jr./Sr. High School (Sidney)

The Power of Youth: A Rain Garden Project
As the primary life source on this planet, water is our most valuable, and abused resource. By establishing the rain garden / bioswale outside my high school, it will help reduce erosion and the amount of toxins that enter our ground water. It is my hope that others will create similar gardens, healing our world one step at a time.

Taylor Geu
Bishop Heelan Catholic High School (Sioux City)

Growing a Garden, Building a Community and Harvesting Hope
I built a tool shed for the St. Thomas Church Community Garden, a place for people to grow their own fresh food while building a sense of community within the Rose Hill Neighborhood of Sioux City. In addition, St. Thomas is using part of the garden to supply vegetables to the Food Bank of Siouxland located at St. Thomas.

Pavane Gorrepati
Rivermont Collegiate (Bettendorf)

Sending Seeds Overseas
Sending Seeds Overseas provides agricultural resources for hundreds of hungry families in developing nations. Through awareness/donation events such as the “Hunger Banquet,” I collected thousands of seeds to help those affected by natural disasters, political upheaval, lack of infrastructure, poverty, and low food production. The project also educates students about an issue that afflicts 820 million people daily – food insecurity.

Woo Tack Hong
Regina High School (Iowa City)

Hunger in a Box
Hunger. Most of us fail to recognize this global crisis. The purpose of Hunger in a Box is to raise awareness – to bring to life the injustices of food distribution through a “Hunger Box,” composed of scripts for various hunger-related activities. As soon as the Box was completed, organizations (including high schools) around Iowa evaluated its merit and provided feedback.

Jay Kakade
Newton Senior High School (Newton)

Newton Math and Science Foundation
My foundation’s goal is to create a positive attitude towards math and science and celebrate academic success among elementary school students in the Newton School District. We aim to encourage and promote broad-based interest in math and science and reward excellence. We are offering tutoring, prizes, and scholarships to motivate and encourage students to do well on standardized tests.

Katherine (Katy) Short
Webster City High School (Webster City)

A Children’s Theatre for a Cure (ACT for a Cure)
ACT for a Cure is a children’s theatre production of Zink the Zebra. The three-fold goal of this project is to create a springboard for conversation about cancer with kids, to raise money for Children’s Cancer Connection in order to send child cancer patients to camp, and to put forth a message about differences and tolerance.

Magdalene (Maggie) Van Roekel
Mid-Priarie High School (Wellman)

Instilling the Love for Reading: Increasing Books on CD for Local Library
Reading is an essential part to early childhood, but some parents may not have time to read to their children. This is why I wanted to record books on CD for our public library, as we had a lack of children’s audio books. Books read by members of the community will encourage kids to love to read.

Victor Wang
Ames High School (Ames)

Upcycling Trash to Cash
Upcycling Trash to Cash is a project that aims to reduce waste in landfills produced in Ames and, at the same time, support charities around the globe. This project involves students voluntarily going into their neighborhoods, proceeding to collect and sort various kinds of trash, and finally sending the trash to Terracycle where it can be upcycled into reusable products.

Dana Wolthuizen
Sheldon Community High School (Sheldon)

Sunday Best for Haiti
Many Haitians would like to attend Sunday worship services, but cannot because they do not have the proper attire. I collected church clothes for all ages at a camp and several churches in the area through Bible schools. I hope to provide many Haitian people with clothes so they can experience the fellowship of a service in their Sunday best.