Originally published in the Bonner County Daily Bee – November 21, 2018

SANDPOINT — By the time she was 17, Kayetlin Alexander of Priest River raised thousands of dollars and spent countless hours volunteering her time to help out charities across the globe.

Her passion for philanthropy was primarily handed down from her parents, she said.

“They were both pretty active in organizing fundraisers and drives and things like that, so it’s something that has always been part of my life,” Alexander said.

Another reason behind Alexander’s passion for philanthropy is her own story. She was born with a complete unilateral cleft, enduring four major surgeries from the time she was a baby until her teenage years, as well as years of speech therapy. She learned that few people around the world had access to those same treatments, which sparked her interest in global outreach.

“Growing up I definitely realized it was something that I put a lot of value in, so it’s something I pursued,” Alexander said.

Alexander’s volunteer hours have primarily been with World Vision’s “30 Hours of Famine” youth program and Feed the Need. Between the two, she’s worked with and raised funds for meal kitchens, child care, youth outreach, music-based ministry and housing projects.

The “30 Hours of Famine,” she said, is similar to a dance-a-thon, but instead of dancing, the volunteers go hungry for 30 hours. The money raised during these events helps fight famine around the world. Feed the Need is not an official organization, she said. It is about a group of people getting together and packing lunches and care packages for those in need.

Alexander, who turned 18 last week, now attends the University of Montana, where she is majoring in English with an emphasis on creative writing. She plans to add journalism as a minor as well.

She is looking at a couple different career paths, she said, including copy editing and journalism.

She grew up in the Priest River area, she said, and was home-schooled to accommodate her medical needs. Throughout middle school and high school, she attended the Idaho Virtual Academy. With all of her coursework online, the virtual academy allowed her to volunteer without falling behind in school.

In a “rough” estimate, Alexander said she has probably raised more than $2,000 in charitable efforts throughout her youth. As for volunteer hours, she couldn’t even begin to guess.

“Definitely somewhere in the hundreds,” she said.

To learn more about Idaho Virtual Academy, visit https://idva.k12.com.

KEYWORDS: Idaho, Idaho Technical Career Academy, ITCA

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