News Release

News and Public Information Office
Glos Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-7592
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Student has a lot to give

01/22/2001

Miami University first-year student Emily Douglas is only 18, but she’s already raised nearly half a million dollars to help the needy in Appalachia.

For that accomplishment Family Circle recently named Douglas one of five winners of the magazine’s annual Halo Award, which recognizes extraordinary community service.

Douglas has been helping the impoverished in Appalachia for almost half of her life. Inspired by the memory of her grandmother, who "would always find a way to help," Douglas founded Grandma’s Gifts in 1992.

Grandma’s Gifts has provided approximately $400,000 dollars worth of goods and services, including food, clothing, books, eyeglasses and summer camp scholarships, to children in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Douglas has shared her story with thousands of school children, not only to help increase awareness of conditions in Appalachia but to teach children how they can serve their community. "Teaching others to give" is part of the mission of Grandma’s Gifts, says Douglas.

Her work has received other national recognition, including a Hitachi Foundation Yoshiyama Award for exemplary service to the community, a President’s Service Award and a National Freedoms Foundation Award.

Douglas has traveled the country speaking and teaching about community service. After speaking to Congress last spring on the needs in Appalachia, she realized that she "wanted to be involved... with politics, and really make changes happen. Needs in Appalachia are known about...but little is being worked on. When I see schools in Appalachia without libraries, I think there ought to be a law against it."

She is already making a difference, as a youth representative to the Ohio governor’s community service council and a member of the Ohio Youth Action Council.

Douglas, a political science and public policy major, continues her work with Grandma’s Gifts during weekend visits to her home in Powell and through her Web site http://www.ntouch.cc/grandmasgifts.

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