The Scholars program, now in its 13th year, honors the top 100 students in the U.S. who are proven leaders, both in the classroom and in the communities in which they live and serve. The winners were awarded a combined total of
Since the Toyota Community Scholars program began in 1997, TMS has awarded over
The judges who chose the 2009 Toyota Community Scholars' class were impressed with the many volunteer projects in which Kephart has participated, particularly her role in establishing a Liberian Chapter of Kids for a Better World and a Child Development Center in
The center serves over 300 displaced street children and ex-combatant youth affected by years of war. In an effort to address their needs, Kephart created "Coins for Africa" and set up collection boxes for school supplies and decorated jars for monetary donations. Enlisting the assistance of her high school and a local bank, Kephart collected funds, which are used to pay for shipping of resources like food, educational services and play therapy for kids.
Having volunteered more than 5000 hours, she has raised a total of
"This program empowered youth to make a difference," says Kephart. "That's what they will remember, and that's what will encourage them to continue to serve: the opportunity that they were given and the faces of those they touched."
An accomplished violinist, Kephart also collects and donates CD players, recorded music, and karaoke machines for kids at the Ronald McDonald House.
A true humanitarian, she began volunteering at the age of 5 and is involved in numerous charitable programs.
Kephart is a perfect example of what the Toyota Community Scholars program is all about.
"In these tough economic times, it is particularly rewarding to see these students having such a tremendous impact in their communities," said
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