MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Isabel Raese has done her best to help others in her community for as long as she can remember. At just two years old, Raese helped her family stuff Easter baskets for other children in need and has since organized countless successful fundraisers for various groups and causes. Next on the 13 year-old’s list: a bake sale to benefit West Virginia University Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.

The flour will fly in the hours leading up to the WVU Healthcare Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, June 8 as Raese, several of her friends and a few volunteers cook up an impressive mix of home-baked goodness. No small-time effort, Raese and friends hope to bring in $5,000 for WVU Children’s Hospital.

“I want to be known as the ‘kid that did,’” Raese said. And when Mon Valley’s Outstanding Teen is asked how she decides whom to help next, her answer is simple: “I want to help people that need it. Being an Outstanding Teen means helping in your community and making a positive difference in the lives of others.”

The scholarship-based Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program is open to young ladies aged 13 to 17. As part of the Miss America Organization, participating teens are role models who exemplify outstanding scholastic achievement, healthy living and community service. As a regional Outstanding Teen, Raese will compete for the state title July 4-9 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. The Miss America Organization has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network to raise money and awareness of children’s hospitals throughout the nation.

“Fundraising and helping others is what my family has always done,” said Raese. “My platform is KICS (pronounced ‘kicks’), which stands for Kids in Community Service.”

A rising 8th grader at Morgantown’s South Middle School, Isabel hopes to inspire other children to take an active role in their communities.

“They can start by doing something small, like helping a neighbor clean up their garage,” she said. “You can start small and work up to bigger things.”

Fresh fruit will also be available for purchase at the bake sale, and Isabel is providing a Nintendo Wii game system for a raffle drawing.

“Isabel is such an inspiring young lady,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. “She wants to help sick children and give back to her community. We are so grateful to have her on our team.”

Children’s Miracle Network is a group of 170 non-profit children’s hospitals that provide premium care, high-quality research and excellent community outreach programs to help millions of children with diseases or injuries. All funds collected for and by Children’s Miracle Network remain in the community where they were raised. WVU Children’s Hospital is the only Children’s Miracle Network hospital in West Virginia.

The WVU Healthcare Farmer’s Market offers locally-grown produce, delicious prepared foods and handcrafted items from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday through the summer. Organized by The Wellness Program of the Health Sciences Campus, the market is located outside between WVU's Ruby Memorial Hospital and the WVU Health Sciences building.

For more information: Leigh Limerick, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
lal: 06-02-11