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OHS senior Maria Keller, founder of Read Indeed, has been awarded the Diana Award for 2017 for her work in literacy and providing more than 2 million books to children in need. Keller is one of six young people from the United States to be recognized this year.
The Diana Award is given in the name of Diana, Princess of Wales, to young role models between age 9 to 18 throughout the world who are selflessly transforming the lives of others. These exceptional young people embody Princess Diana’s qualities of kindness, compassion and service.
The award was established in memory of Princess Diana and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Today, the Diana Award has the support of both her sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Since 2009, Keller has worked with thousands of volunteers at the Read Indeed warehouse in Hopkins, counting, sorting and boxing books, which are consistently donated by individuals, families, schools, churches, corporations, and publishers. The books are then distributed to at-risk children and teens who have no reading resources in their homes. To date, Read Indeed has gifted more than 2.2 million books to children and teens throughout the world.
Keller has been an avid reader since childhood. She started Read Indeed when she was 8 years old. In addition to collecting books, Keller is invited to speak about literacy issues facing our nation. Most recently, she spoke at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the kickoff of the year-long celebration of President Kennedy’s 100th birthday.