Ali Kinsey, who used flyers and Facebook messages to raise much-needed supplies and more than $500 for the victims of the tornado, is the winner of the 2012-13 Daniel Cayce Award for Inspirational Leadership in Public Service.
After delivering the funds and supplies, Kinsey and her family worked with Samaritan's Purse, a disaster relief organization, to help clean up debris.
A newspaper story about a young boy who died in the storm inspired Kinsey to act. In an essay, she wrote that the death of Will Norton was the determining factor that led her to travel to Joplin.
"I'm uncertain as to why his story laid such a heavy burden upon my heart, but I knew I couldn't ignore the obligation I felt to help the surviving victims," she wrote. "These people had been left with nothing but missing loved ones, the clothes on their backs, and a pile of rubble that was once their home."
Kinsey, who will graduate from Lakeside High School in May, is a member of the National Honors Society. She has volunteered with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, Sisters in Service, the American Heart Association Sweethearts Program and the Hot Springs Junior Garden Club.
The Clinton School give the Cayce Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship, annually to a high school student who exemplifies outstanding public service. The award is named after 2005 winner Daniel Cayce of Bearden who worked for 14 years helping needy families in southeast Arkansas.
Kinsey was selected from among six finalists for the award. The other finalists were:
- Maryssa Barron, a Little Rock Central High School senior who served as president of the school's Junior Civitan Club, an organization that promotes service in the school community. She has also volunteered with Arkansas Mission of Mercy and Students Taking a New Direction (STAND).
- Mackenzie Hess, a North Little Rock High School senior who served as a summer counselor at Camp Aldersgate Medical Camp for children with disabilities. She has also volunteered with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, River Cities Ministries and her church youth group.
- Tiffany Easter, a Sheridan High School senior who started her own ministry, Beauty for Ashes, which works to raise money and awareness for the plight of modern-day slaves. She has also volunteered with Back Yard Missions, Grant County Youth Board, City Reach and the International Sports Federation.
- Trey Franklin, a Booneville High School senior who partnered with his sister to raise money for cancer research through Relay for Life. Franklin has also volunteered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America, the First Baptist Church and as a little league t-ball coach.
- Khloe Richardson, a Little Rock Central High School junior who worked with her drama class to create and perform a one-act play to raise awareness against bullying in schools. She has also volunteered with the Just Communities of Arkansas Walk for Community, Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, among other organizations.