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U.S. Cellular announces The Future of Good 16 Under 16

February 19, 2019

Through The Future of Good program, U.S. Cellular has selected 16 young humanitarians under 16 for the inspirational acts of good they do in their communities. Representing many types of service, these 16 youths were selected out of hundreds of nominations from across the country as those who are making an important impact on the community around them and connecting to the good in all of us with the help of wireless technology. As a selected 16 youth, each will receive $10,000 to further their cause.

Local honoree Alexa Austin of Newport, Tennessee, was chosen to the 16 Under 16 for her dedication to supporting those facing Alzheimer’s and their families.

“It is so inspiring to hear the stories of ‘good’ that poured in from around the country as a part of this program,” said Grant Leech, vice president of brand marketing at U.S. Cellular. “We’re in the fourth year of this program, and it’s an honor to champion and invest in these young people who are doing so much good, and who are setting an example for everyone to get involved in their communities.”

In addition to the financial contribution to each young humanitarian’s cause, winners will get the chance to talk to six-time Dancing with the Stars champion and World of Dance judge, Derek Hough, about what they’re doing to make a positive impact and get tips on how to continue to build their cause. The mentoring session will take place in early March, when Hough will hear from the young humanitarians and share his passion for doing good in his community through service.

Read about The Future of Good 16 Under 16 recipients below and visit to be inspired by their full stories:

  • Aela (age 14) in Portland, Maine: Aela is an activist who’s built a team of student leaders to create an entirely student-led conference focusing on sexual assault prevention in her community and the state of Maine.
  • Alexa (age 15) in Newport, Tenn.: After her great grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Alexa decided she wanted to make a difference. In just a few short years, Alexa has helped raise awareness for the disease and $60,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
  • Audrey (age 14) in Iowa Falls, Iowa: In 2017, Audrey became involved with the creation of a youth center focused on providing a safe environment for students to explore interests and discover their purpose. Audrey helped with the building remodel, from painting to building furniture to scrubbing floors and now helps lead activities with students.
  • Blakely (age 15) in Brunswick, Maine: For the past eight years, Blakely has volunteered over 1,800 hours at her local animal shelter. As a certified foster cat caregiver and adoption ambassador, she has cared for over 100 shelter rescue cats in her home, while managing social media accounts to help find them forever homes.
  • Caroline (age 13) in Oakland, Md.: Caroline’s volunteer work uses technology to improve literacy in her community. She helped to connect a non-profit offering free functional reading instruction to children and adults with a user-friendly software platform.
  • Cayden (age 8) in Beloit, Wis.: Cayden was diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura at the age of six and has since raised over $23,000 for the Platelet Disorder Support Association through his annual 5K walk and fundraising efforts.
  • Elise (age 13) in Hutchinson, Kan.: When Elise learned about the impact Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico, she decided to help. She organized an initiative at her middle school in Reno County called Puerto Reno to raise funds and awareness. After meeting their goal of $200, Elise sent the funds to a nonprofit to help purchase school supplies for 40 disadvantaged youth in Puerto Rico.
  • Elliot Perry (age 7) in Bedford, N.H.: When Elliot was born prematurely, he was given an 18% chance of survival. His next 121 days at his local hospital is why Elliot is still here today. Elliot has given back by raising $100,000 for the hospital.
  • Emersyn (age 12) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Emersyn was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was very young. Her stay at her local hospital during spine surgery inspired her to help scoliosis patients feel comfortable while they underwent surgery by providing them with care baskets.
  • Grace (age 13) in Ames, Iowa: After a brief stint in the hospital at 10 years old, Grace decided to start raising money for kids whose stay wasn’t as short. From hot chocolate and lemonade stands to an annual hospital toy drive, and eventually creating the Amazing Grace Lemonade Race in 2017, Grace has raised over $40,000 for the hospital.
  • Izabella (age 15) in Holstein, Neb.: Izabella was diagnosed with Pineoblastoma brain cancer in 2016. During her treatment, Izabella’s family received help from multiple organizations and now Izabella wants to give back. To raise awareness for her cause, she speaks at fundraising events, camps, and on TV and radio stations to advocate funding research into pediatric cancer and for organizations that assist families during their time of need.
  • Kayden (age 11) in Lewiston, Maine: Kayden started Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry to help community members in need. Recently, however, a fire ripped through their space, but Kayden continues to rebuild to help make her community a better place.
  • Kendal (age 13) in Memphis, Mo.: Kendal was recently inspired to start a lending library and went through city legislation to build one in her city park. Available to everyone, the library’s rule is to take a book if you need one, and to leave one if you have extras.
  • Lainie (age 15) in Shelbina, Mo.: To spread awareness about the human trafficking epidemic, Lainie is working toward getting a bill passed in Missouri requiring public schools to display posters warning teenagers of the signs of human trafficking. She is working with several political officials to drive for a law to be passed.
  • Madison (age 13) in Bellevue, Neb.: At seven years old, Madison sold her Halloween candy to raise funds for her local food pantry. Since then, Madison has continued fundraising in her community, raising over $6,000 in six years to support local causes.
  • Olivia (age 11) in Milo, Iowa: Olivia not only volunteers for her local food pantry and senior citizens home, but she also fundraises to assist those in Iowa who have Autism. She’s sponsored a program allowing autistic kids and their families to enjoy a private pool party at the public pool, raised $800 by helping to construct a quilt that she raffled off, and inspired over $2,700 in donations from local businesses.

About U.S. Cellular
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