Youth Volunteer of the Year - Katharine Shao

Katharine Shao

Katharine Shao has volunteered consistently to improve the literacy and education of Detroit youth. After teaching an art class at the Detroit Impact Center, a nonprofit youth development organization, she became amazed at how children reacted to the gift of a few books. She then recognized that the children had a great desire to read more, but lacked the resources to buy books. Inspired by the potential of these young people, Katharine has made it her mission to ensure that financial circumstances do not stifle their reading opportunities or abilities. In 2016, she launched a book drive called the Push Reading Literacy Campaign. She recruited and inspired dozens of volunteers to help her. Katharine traveled 1,500 miles to collect over 20,000 books worth $80,000 from local nonprofit organizations, schools, and families. The Detroit Impact Center was also encouraged by her service and started hosting monthly Lunch-and-Learn Book Clubs to combat illiteracy; the Detroit Impact Center donates six free books to each child who attends. In only two years, Katharine has made impressive contributions toward her passion for reading. She hopes to double that impact, by eventually donating 40,000 books through her campaign. “We are honored to have Katharine Shao as one of our community partners,” said Detroit Impact Center president Calvin Colbert. “She is a wonderful caring teenager working on behalf of our future generations.”