South Dakota Students Honored For Volunteer Work

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Students in KELOLAND are getting national recognition for their community service. 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is honoring Sioux Falls and Rapid City students as the state’s top two youth volunteers of 2019. 

Abby Neff might just be mastering the art of community service. 

“I thought it would be fun to turn something used into something new for kids who might not have what we do,” Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls Junior Abby Neff said. 

That’s exactly what she does with her non-profit called Recycled Rainbows. 

She takes old crayons and crafts them into new ones for kids who don’t have them. 

Kelli Volk: Why is it important that kids have crayons?
Neff: Well, I think art is very important. 

The junior at Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls estimates she has donated at least 15,000 crayons. 

They’ve gone to a majority of the United States and even Africa and India. 

“It’s a great honor to have her here at school, to be a leader in the classroom, to be a leader in the school. She’s quiet; she’s reserved, but just by her actions…being able to show what it takes to be a servant leader in the community, in the United States, even in the world,” Principal Derek Bult said. 

She hopes more kids are inspired to get involved in their communities. 

“Just because they might be young, they can still do big things. Just take my project for example. I just took crayons and look where it’s gotten me now,” Neff said. 

And who knows where the rainbow ends.

The other state honoree is 12-year-old Owen Ponto from Saint Thomas More Middle School in Rapid City. 

He started a hill-climbing event that has raised $17,000 to help find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. 

Both honorees will receive $1,000, a silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C. 

South Dakota’s Distinguished Finalists are 15-year-old Korbin Leddy of Stockholm, South Dakota and 18-year-old Faith Weiland of Beresford, South Dakota.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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