Thirteen-year-old Olivia Ohlson has received the George H.W. Bush Daily Point of Light Award from the former president’s foundation for her extensive volunteer service in the Evanston/Skokie community.
The 8th grade Haven Middle School student joins the ranks of hundreds of honorees to receive the award, which was created in 1990 by the former president to commend individuals for making a difference in the lives of others in their communities.
“We are proud of all of the hard work that Olivia has accomplished in helping the District 65 community,” said Dr. Devon Horton, Superintendent of District 65. “Olivia’s actions are what we hope every District 65 student aspires toward; actions that create a stronger, more empathetic, and connected community for all.”
Ohlson’s volunteer experience has deep roots in her community. From her support with assisting senior citizens, low-income families who required additional hygiene supplies, and hospital patients, to the recorded tutoring services she has offered to students in District 65, Ohlson’s goal is clear: she merely wants to help others.
“My mom always instilled in me that need to help others, and my dad as well,” said Ohlson. “They did service projects when they were older. They did all sorts of things to help the community, and I just wanted to be a part of that too.”
Ohlson has done her part to continue this stride of giving by becoming an active member of several nonprofit organizations and has even started her own nonprofit system. Ohlson’s work with The Honeycomb Project, a Chicago nonprofit organization, for example, has allowed her to tackle a number of community-based tasks, including clothing and food donations.
Ohlson also has experience in starting her own nonprofit efforts. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohlson created Hygiene Kits for Evanston residents most deeply impacted. “For my biggest project, I’m running Hygiene Kits for Evanston’s Underserved,” said Ohlson. “We take in-kind donations and cash donations, and then with the cash we go to the store and buy all the hygiene products that are necessary to make the kits, and then I make the kits myself.”
As schools across District 65 transitioned to remote learning in March, Ohlson viewed the situation as an opportunity to help students who may need additional academic support in lieu of in-person instruction by starting her own YouTube channel, which offers math and reading tutoring videos. “It’s just like five minute videos that will give them a little bit of a nudge-up for the next school year,” said Ohlson.