Local highschooler’s nonprofit looks to expand

Local highschooler’s nonprofit looks to expand

The Nikiski Children’s Fund, a nonprofit set up by Nikiski High School student Carlee Rizzo, is looking to expand its reach to Homer, Kenai, Soldotna and Seward.

Rizzo said the fund has done a lot of good for the Nikiski School, and could have potential in other peninsula schools.

“It would be nice if other schools had this opportunity,” Rizzo said.

In 2015, Rizzo began the project when she was a freshman in high school, and saw that many of her peers could use a helping hand. Both of Rizzo’s parents are teachers, and are among the first in schools to recognize when students are struggling, she said.

“I just saw all these kids with holes in their shoes, or holes in their backpacks,” Rizzo said. “As I got older, one of my friends was living in their car with no money for food. I’m not someone who can just stand by.”

Rizzo coordinates public events, like concerts and an annual softball game between the Nikiski fire department and the Alaska State Troopers, to raise money. The money raised is then made available for teachers to use when they see students who might need help.

The fund has generated $8,000 in the last three years to support the nonprofit’s donations, and an additional $8,000 to provide an annual scholarship.

Rizzo said the fund helps pay for anything a kid might need, like the electric bills of families who need assistance, a driving lesson for a student who can’t afford it, or hats, gloves, coats or boots. Rizzo has even helped fundraise for new school supplies and clothing for a student whose family home burned down in the middle of the night.

The nonprofit needs to raise $3,000 to support the expansion to the peninsula’s other areas. Rizzo set up GoFundMe account that has already earned nearly $800.

If Rizzo is able to raise the funds she needs to expand, the money will be available to other peninsula schools by next semester, she said.

In addition to expanding the fund to other schools, Rizzo is setting up an annual scholarship. Every year, a junior in high school will have the chance to win the $1,000 scholarship if they choose to take on the coordinating role Rizzo has been in since the nonprofit’s beginnings. Rizzo said each scholarship recipient will train the next.

More in News

Alaska Rep. David Eastman, a Republican from Wasilla, sits at his desk on the Alaska House floor in Juneau, Alaska, on March 5, 2020. Alaska lawmakers are discussing whether to sanction Eastman who is also a member of the Oath Keepers far-right paramilitary organization according to the Anchorage Daily News. Eastman, who is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, confirmed with the Associated Press, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, that he joined the Oath Keepers a little over 12 years ago, “along with 38,000 others who have committed to honoring oaths we have taken.” (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
State lawmaker could be sanctioned over Oath Keeper ties

Eastman was identified as a “life member” of the Oath Keepers last year

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
As cases surge, public health officials contemplate how to live with virus

Contact tracing and data collection will have to be reworked if COVID is here to stay

Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone can be seen on this map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Image via fisheries.noaa.gov)
Soldotna approves filing of EEZ lawsuit brief

The lawsuit seeks to reopen commercial salmon fishing in the Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone

University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney, bottom left, spoke to UA students in a virtual forum on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and was joined by several UA administrators including UA Southeast President Karen Carey, bottom left, and UA Anchorage Vice Chancellor Bruce Schultz, top left. At top right, an American Sign Language professional provides translation services. (Screenshot)
UA President: University has turned a corner on funding

System sees modest increase in budget for first time in years

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak and Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, spoke to reporters Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, immediately following Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s State of the State address. Members of the Senate Republican leadership said they appreciated the governor’s optimism, and hoped it signaled a better relationship between the administration and the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Lawmakers welcome tone change in governor’s address

With caveats on financials, legislators optimistic about working together

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID deaths, hospitalizations climb statewide

The total number of statewide COVID deaths is nearly equivalent to the population of Funny River.

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Restrictions on sport fishing announced

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced summer sport fishing regulations Wednesday

Community agencies administer social services to those in need during the Project Homeless Connect event Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘It’s nice to be able to help folks’

Project Homeless Connect offers services, supplies to those experiencing housing instability

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Most Read