LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Jessica Randall won the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award for starting a donation closet for sexual assault survivors.
Randall was shocked to learn that people who've experienced sexual assault leave emergency rooms wearing paper scrubs and mesh underwear--after reading an article on the topic.
In February she started the Survivor Clothing Project to make sure people leaving Mayo and Gundersen Health Systems have proper clothing when they leave the facility.
"The project isn't just about physical clothing. It's about making a difference and de-stigmatizing sexual assault and just helping out fellow human beings," Randall said.
She wanted to make a difference for others, but also learned about herself along the way.
"There's something about making change that changes you. This has actually furthered my decision to pursue becoming a physician serving as a powerful agent of change everyday," she said.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals WI, Upper Mississippi Chapter gave her the 2021 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award for her work.
"Not only does this shine a light and recognize their contributions but it also inspires all of us that, 'Hey if you see a need in this community... We all have the power to pick up and contribute,''' AFP, WI's President Jonathan McKenzie said.
She appreciates the acknowledgement but said winning awards was not her goal.
"Of course it's nice to be recognized but that's not why you do the work in the first place," Randall said. "That's the beauty of volunteering and giving of yourself to others."
She said it is never too late or too early to start helping.
"All you have to do is send that one email or talk to that one person and then you can get started because in the beginning I didn't really have any contacts."