When Krissi Fajgenbaumin began her charity in 2009, the unemployment rate in nearby Robbinsvile, North Carolina was at 16.1 percent. Families were struggling — and teens were having to go without. “I was shocked,” Krissi told People recently, remembering the documentary she watched about teens living in poverty in Appalachia, only hours from her own home in Raleigh.
So, even though she was only a sophomore in high school, she started her own charity, Teens 2 Teens, which provides fashionable gently used clothes to needy high school students — for free. Since 2009, her non-profit has helped collect more than 30,000 items, from dresses to shoes and bags. The clothes are now distributed at high schools in two impoverished North Carolina counties, where teens can shop in a boutique-like setting at a Krissi’s Kloset.
Krissi was named this year as a nominees for People magazine’s Readers Choice Hero of 2011 — but she says for her, the reward is seeing the difference her charity makes. “The amount of work you do doesn’t even compare to how much you get out of it and how many people are getting helped,” she said in an interview with The Daily Tar Heel, a student newspaper at the University of North Carolina, where she is currently a freshman.
Watch a video with Krissi, then tell us your ideas for making sure students in your community get what they need to thrive — and feel good about themselves.
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