Local teen selected as Louisiana’s 1st Toys for Tots youth ambassador

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

ST. ROSE — The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots has selected its newest and first youth ambassador from Louisiana, Miss Kelsi Anderson from St. Rose, Louisiana. Kelsi, an eighth grader at Albert Cammon Middle School, will be joining existing ambassadors from all over the nation and sharing her knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the global Marine Toys for Tots community.

Youth ambassadors are recognized from their volunteer efforts in the Toys for Tots program as well as their community involvement. The program spotlights “children helping children” – those that have gone above and beyond in their communities to help those less fortunate than themselves, but also engaging community members on behalf of Toys for Tots.

Kelsi stated, “Volunteering has changed my life. As I was helping my mother, a passion grew to help others in need. I learned more about myself and about how serving others was rewarding.

“Before volunteering, I had never been exposed to homelessness or hunger. I saw people without homes due to Hurricane Ida. I watched my family serve tirelessly, bringing food, water and clothing to those who lost their homes. This completely changed the way I felt about serving others.”

The Youth Ambassador Program works year-round to raise awareness about toys for tots through civic engagement and encourages volunteerism among young people; offers youth the opportunity to represent their peers and participate in volunteer initiatives; build leadership skills, self-confidence, intercultural sensitivity, and nurture excellence among young leaders from underserved communities while keeping their peers involved in positive social activities and promoting tolerance and achievement.

Kelsi will continue to work to foster collaboration through Toys for Tots with sister organizations, including the Kare4Kids (food distributions), the Daeladus Foundation (outreach with at-risk youth in East Baton Rouge Parish), and the Share A Basket Foundation (Domestic Violence), while keeping youth at the forefront of knowledge in serving and giving.

Kelsi’s upcoming schedule includes domestic violence awareness, toy distributions (Edward Dufresne Community Center & St. John Municipal Building), Santa Breakfast (Ponchatoula), Toys for Tots Orleans Campaign, St. Charles Campaign, East Baton Rouge Parish, and the Gulf Coast Campaign.