SHOREWOOD - Shorewood High School junior Katie Eder was one of two Wisconsin students recognized for their volunteer efforts through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
Eder developed a creative writing workshop three years ago when it occurred to her that many children, particularly in under-served communities, have few opportunities to write creatively.
After designing a curriculum for kids 8 to 12 years old, Katie conducted her first two week-long "Kids Tales" workshops during the summer of 2014 at a school and youth center. She helped 18 children brainstorm ideas for short stories, write rough drafts, and then edit their stories. At the end, she gathered the stories, published them as an anthology on Amazon and presented each student with a paper copy.
The first Kids Tales workshops were so successful that Katie was soon training other teens who wanted to teach them. Last summer, 97 teen teachers conducted workshops for nearly 400 kids in six states and five other countries.
As executive director of the Kids Tales nonprofit organization, Katie recruits and trains teachers, raises funds, maintains a website and coordinates publishing activity – in addition to conducting her own workshops. Katie hopes to double the size of her organization this year.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is awarding Eder with $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.