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Despite our best intentions, young people often feel left out when it comes to charitable work. Many don’t feel empowered to make a difference. This is a shame because if we were to harness their creativity and energy for a good cause, the implications could be felt for generations to come.

But sometimes, our youth fight through obstacles and don’t let even adults stand in their way of doing good. Meet to two high school seniors from different parts of the country who did just that.

Abbi Hanley attends Redeemer Lutheran School in Oakmont, PA. She began researching organizations to support for her senior project and landed on CURE because she had some experience with a local girl named Mary Pat. Abbi works at the Oakmont Bakery and one spring Mary Pat, who had been battling cancer for years, got to come and decorate cakes with the staff. Abbi was so inspired by the event that she developed Cakes for a Cure as her project.

Here is how her creative project worked: Each student and their family got the opportunity to sign up to receive a 6-inch single layer vanilla cake donated by the Oakmont Bakery. They took the cake home on Monday and got the whole week to decorate. Then on Friday they brought the cakes back to school during a book fair. The timing was no coincidence – Abbi planned it on a night when hundreds of people would be at the venue. She displayed the cakes and charged $1 per ticket to vote, with prizes for the winners donated by the bakery. The result was a unique family experience that raised $1200 to fight childhood cancer – an outstanding total considering her goal was $200.


Here in Georgia, Kali Brooks was also contemplating her senior project. A student at Etowah High School, Kali had an intimate experience with childhood cancer after losing two friends – Lindsay Simmons and Abigail Morris. So for her, there was no question as to what her project would fund.  The only question was how she would do so. For starters, she decided to design and sell t-shirts. But that was just the beginning.

Kali created a gold-out event for a home football game where she had the students dress in gold and collect donations from fans. She also canvased local businesses and got sponsorships from places like Gameday Bar & Grill and Bojangles. In the end, she was able to raise $4200 which she delivered to the CURE office. More importantly, her experience has changed the trajectory of her life. She had been hoping to study veterinary medicine in college but has now decided to pursue pre-med with the hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist.


Both of these young ladies have incredibly bright futures, and CURE is proud to be a part of their projects. We hope they inspire more young people to dream big and know they can make a difference in this world.