Four years ago, 13-year-old Carlie Steele of Amity, Oregon, caught a vision for helping people in need. Watching a telethon for children’s cancer “sparked an interest,” Carlie explained to KOIN reporters. “I thought these kids might want something to play with or something to do when they’re in this rough time.” Carlie faithfully pursued her vision, collecting $2,000 worth of donated gifts for young chemotherapy patients.

After her first project, Carlie felt inspired to keep on giving. She founded “Carlie’s Kindness Campaign,” a certified non-profit organization, to structure her charitable efforts. One Christmas, she organized a drive to collect gifts and card games for overseas military personnel. She developed a 5K run fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Oregon. And she held multiple assemblies at her school “to raise awareness and respect for those who have disabilities.”

Carlie’s campaigns have earned her national recognition: this May, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive a Presidential Spirit of Community Award for community service and to meet Senator Ron Wyden.

Carlie, however, intends to pursue goals much broader than national recognition and fame. “I want to try and end the negativity in the world and show kids my age that being kind is cool, and volunteering is a great thing to do.”

Nicholas Comerchero is a junior at Corban University, where he plans to complete his undergraduate degree in political science. Nicholas enjoys thinking, writing, and speaking about public policy and economics.