Senior Kevin Cao was recently awarded the Student Peace Award of Fairfax County for his work with Growth and Inspiration Through Volunteering and Education (GIVE). Cao co-founded the non-profit organization in 2009, which aims to empower students through a mentorship program.
Starting with just one center in Annandale, GIVE has expanded to serve more of the community. Currently, Cao leads 11 GIVE centers throughout Northern Virginia that serve hundreds of students in elementary and middle school students every Saturday and Sunday. He is also involved in a book project titled, “Being Different is What Makes Us Special!” in order to increase acceptance of different cultures and to decrease bullying.
“He was selected by our department based on his work in GIVE,” guidance counselor Kerry Hamblin said. “He has been a driving force in giving back to the community and in serving as a role model for other TJ students.”
Cao has also been the recipient of numerous other awards, such as the Hope Freedom Rings Scholarship and Nordstrom 104U Scholarship. His program has been featured in the Washington Post, the Connection Newspapers and the Fairfax Times. He is Jefferson’s school representative to the Fairfax County Student Human Rights Commission.
“I was really honored to win this award. Peace is something that I am very passionate about, and I truly appreciate what the award represents,” Cao said. “In an increasingly global world, peace is paramount to producing a harmonious future.”