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Style Magazine

Anna von Wendorff

Aug 29, 2014 03:38PM ● By Amber Foster
Anna von Wendorff isn’t your average 18-year-old high school graduate. While attending Granite Bay High School, she noticed how little interaction there was between students with disabilities and the rest of the student body. As someone who has friends with disabilities, von Wendorff knew that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is for someone to break the ice. To that end, she got involved in her school’s then-fledgling youth branch of the disability-awareness program, A Touch of Understanding (ATOU). With the help of her high school’s Key Club and other community volunteers, she   started the ATOU’s Youth FORCE (Friends Offering Respect Creating Empowerment) high school club, a program that helps bring abled and disabled students together to do fun activities—all while fostering mutual understanding and respect. Von Wendorff later became president of Youth FORCE, as well as a member of ATOU’s executive board. For her outreach efforts, she received the 2014 Violet Richardson Award from the Loomis Basin Soroptimist Club.
Last May, von Wendorff graduated as the valedictorian of her class and is now in her first year at Stanford University. Her long-term goal is to start her own nonprofit; one that will bring education to rural areas in the developing world. “ATOU gave me insight into the non-profit world,” von Wendorff shares. “There’s so much we can do to make a difference.”