ThanksUSA, a charity started by a two spunky sisters in 2005, has successfully raised $10 million in scholarships for military spouses and children in 10 years.
The organization was founded by Rachel and Kelsi Okun when they were just ten and eight years old. After witnessing their neighbor return home from the war badly wounded by an IED blast, the two girls decided they wanted to help the families of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans through times of hardship and recovery.
With their parents on board, they started fundraising for “Treasure Hunt Aiding the Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving in the United States of America” (ThanksUSA) in 2006. By 2009, the girls had raised a total of $5 million for veterans. In 2015, they have just pass the $10 million mark.
ThanksUSA has given military family members 3,400 scholarships of $3,000 each.
Rachel is now a sophomore at Yale, and Kelsi is a high school senior. As they finish growing up and furthering their educations, the sisters will continue to run the organization they started in grade school.
“I’ve been able to see that really any person can make a difference. And what you give out to the world you get back 10 times,” Rachel said.