Teen who started Power of Florence earns national recognition

      FLORENCE, Ore. - Kaylee Graham started the Power of Florence event in her coastal town four years ago.

      "It first came about when I wanted to do a volunteer camp, but my parents said that was too much so they said I could do one day and invite as many people as I wanted," the 14-year-old said. "So, I told them I was going to invite the whole community. And I did."

      On the third Saturday of July, volunteers roll up their sleeves and dive into community service projects like pulling weeds at local schools, picking up trash on the beach and sprucing up parks. There's a food drive for the local food bank, fundraisers for the Florence Area Humane Society and the American Cancer Society and a host of other volunteer projects.

      It's a day when neighbors help neighbors and that's exactly what Kaylee dreamed it would be.

      "Yeah, I just think it feels really nice to just give and I can see how it helps people and see how just a little bit of time can help a lot of people," Kaylee said.

      In recognition of her hard work in rallying her community on this day of action, Kaylee was chosen to receive the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

      Each year, one middle school student and one high school student are chosen from each state to receive the award, which includes $1,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

      Kaylee is already spreading the word about this year's Power of Florence event on Saturday, July 19 and asking folks to join her.