Two years ago, as a freshman in high school, Katie Epstein took action on her desire to make an impact in the Las Vegas Community through helping others. Because the only volunteer programs offered through her school were available to those students that could drive themselves to and from the activity, Katie decided to begin a program for those students who, like herself, wanted to volunteer but was not able to drive. That’s when she created a program in conjunction with Seville Terrace, an assisted living center for the elderly that is located across the street from her school. With this program, people confined to the limits of a retirement home were able to interact with high school students on a variety of levels from simple conversation to assistance with their chores. And while this program was started two years ago, a number of students continue to participate, building lasting relationships with the elderly.
This past year, Katie took leadership of the nationally recognized Meadows Mentors program, where as many as 30 students from her high school (The Meadows School) go to a local public school and tutor either individual students in need of literacy training or entire classrooms. Teaching these children, Katie realized that her passion in life is in helping children to realize their potential. Her true compassion for children and here genuine interesting their success is why she has decided to pursue a career in special education. This past summer, Katie traveled to Vanderbilt University in Nashville so that she could participate in a three-week program there for Autistic children. There, she was able to teach social skills to those children whose disease prevents them from adapting to societal customs. And while her resume is certainly impressive enough to merit a Daily Point of Light Award, it is Katie’s simple humanity that makes her an extraordinary young woman.