Marist School students Kennedy Walls ’20 and Amanda Houston ’25 were recently honored in Reporter Newspapers' “20 Under 20” list, which features Atlanta-area students who give back to their communities through volunteer service and leadership.
Kennedy also was named to sister publication Atlanta INtown’s “20 Under 20” list. Excerpted below are the summaries from the article which highlights the students’ meaningful contributions.
Kennedy Walls ’20
Kennedy is founder and CEO of Aid the Journey, Inc., a nonprofit she started with money from her tutoring work to provide medical supplies, hygiene kits, and educational materials to refugees. She has personally supplied more than 30,000 bandages to refugees in Clarkston. The organization now has two corporate sponsors: Grove Collaborative and Kali by Proctor & Gamble. She averages 100 hours per month supporting Aid the Journey, LaAmistad, Friends of Refugees, and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services. Last summer, Kennedy participated in the Harvard Medical Science program, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Youth Leadership Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease Detective Camp. She’s currently a semifinalist for a U.S. State Department program to learn Arabic and culture in Morocco.
“Although I feel perpetually tired, every time I hand deliver one of my medical kits to a refugee I am energized,” Kennedy said. “Maya Angelou’s quote was right: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’”
Amanda Houston ’25
When she was 7, Amanda was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and that requires regular injections of insulin for blood-sugar control. But she hasn’t let the disease slow her down. Soon after her diagnosis, she wrote thank-you letters to the nurses and doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who treated her. She also wrote letters offering hope and comfort to other children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and to their families. She has continued writing those encouraging letters to patients and their families every year on the anniversary of her diagnosis.
She also has helped raise thousands of dollars for JDRF, a charity that funds research into diabetes and provides support for people dealing with the disease. Amanda’s Army, her JDRF One Walk team, has raised more than $45,000 for the charity over the past five years. In addition to her One Walk team, Amanda has introduced speakers at the JDRF Type One Nation Summit, attended a research event and lab tour at Georgia Tech as part of a JDRF-funded research update, and, since 2015, has volunteered as a Youth Ambassador for JDRF.
Congratulations to Kennedy and Amanda on their well-deserved recognitions!
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