Channel 8 Eyewitness news ABC

"Boxes of Love" for Joplin

Posted: Jul 12, 2011 4:30 PM CDT Updated: Jul 20, 2011 11:39 AM

Joplin's killer twister was the deadliest in nearly 60 years.  Although
it happened back in May, a very special 5th grader here in Lincoln
is lending a hand to help all the children recovering from the storm.

For most kids summer is a time to lay back hit the pool or just go out
and play– but one Maxey elementary student is spending her
summer helping other kids have a better one.  As the news
headlines fade away–many may have forgotten about the
devastating tornado that hit Joplin only back in May.  But for fifth
grade student My'Kah Knowlin there is still a need to help.

"I first got involved because I had saw how many people had been
hit by the disaster and I wanted to help and price the tornadoes had
hit I realized it was tornado season and I knew I had to go around
and help people," My'Kah Knowlin said.

My'Kah, who is the world's Preteen Miss Nebraska 2011, came up
with "Boxes of Love" she went around to local businesses and got
donations of everything from toys to toiletries.

Along with some of her pageant girls they stuffed each box with the
goodies and will be delivering them in person to kids all over Joplin.
My'Kah says although it doesn't seem like much–she's hoping
passing out her boxes of love–will help put a smile on another
child's face.

"With this little bit there family and themselves will feel better
because they have something to call their own," My'Kah said.

My'Kah and a group of girls leave on Friday morning and will be
stopping all around Joplin to hand out their special boxes, almost
200 in total.  She says after this project she hopes to turn boxes of
love into a non–profit to help more children of disasters in the
future. If you want to help donate, call her mom Sheila at 402-617-
February 2013 at 11 years old, I
was awarded the Presidential
Volunteer award for 1000+ hours of
community service hours.
Buzz Lightyear anyone?  Here I am with some of
the many toys that I placed in the boxes that went
to Joplin, Mo.
Lux student honored for volunteerism

My’Kah Knowlin, a sixth-grader at Lux Middle School, has
been honored with a Prudential Spirit Community Award.

The award is given by Prudential Financial in partnership
with the National Association of Secondary School

My’Kah organized an effort ending with more than 300
‘Boxes of Love’ filled with toys, snacks and other items for
children affected by the tornadoes in Joplin, Mo.  She
routinely asks for books instead of birthday presents, and she
donates the book, now topping 1,200, to schools in low-
income areas in Lincoln.

She and her friends visited Joplin to distribute the boxes, and
saw the devastation first hand.

“I witnessed children left homeless, living in tents without the
security of their favorite toy or blanket,” she said.

Since she has done even more to help people less fortunate
than her. As a state honoree, she will receive $1,000, an
engraved silver medallion and an all-expense trip to early
May to Washington, D.C. for four days of national recognition
Legislative Chamber, Lincoln, Nebraska
Thursday, February 21, 2013
LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION 61. Introduced by Campbell, 25.

WHEREAS, My'Kah Knowlin, age 11, of Lincoln, Nebraska, and a
student at Lux Middle School, has achieved national recognition for
exemplary volunteer service by receiving a 2013 Prudential Spirit of
Community Award; and
WHEREAS, this prestigious award, presented by Prudential Financial in
partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals,
honors young volunteers across America who have demonstrated an
extraordinary commitment to serving their communities; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Knowlin earned this award by giving generously of her
time and energy to deliver more than three hundred "Boxes of Love" filled
with toys, snacks, and other items to children in Joplin, Missouri, after that
city was hit by devastating tornadoes. She asked businesses to donate items
and shoe stores to donate boxes, and then she recruited friends to help fill
the boxes; and
WHEREAS, the success of the State of Nebraska, the strength of our
communities, and the overall vitality of American society depend, in great
measure, upon the dedication of young people like Ms. Knowlin who use
their considerable talents and resources to serve others.
1. That the Legislature congratulates and honors My'Kah Knowlin as a
recipient of a 2013 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, recognizes her
outstanding record of volunteer service, peer leadership, and community
spirit, and extends best wishes for her continued success and happiness.
2. That a copy of this resolution be sent to My'Kah Knowlin.
[February 05, 2013]  

Nebraska's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 18th Annual
National Awards Program

LINCOLN, Neb. --(Business Wire)--
Alexandra Baxter, 17, of Omaha and My'Kah Knowlin, 11, of
Lincoln today were named Nebraska's top two youth volunteers of
2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide
program honoring young people for outstanding acts of
volunteerism. Alexandra was nominated by United Way of the
Midlands in Omaha, and My'Kah was nominated by Lux Middle
School in Lincoln. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards,
now in its 18th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in
partnership with the National Association of Secondary School
Principals (NASSP).

My'Kah, a sixth-grader at Lux Middle School, provided more than
300 "Boxes of Love" filled with toys, snacks other items to children
in Joplin, Mo., after that city was hit by devastating tornadoes, and
then began working on additional projects to serve others. My'Kah
is no stranger to volunteering. When she was 5 years old, she started
asking for books instead of gifts for her birthday, which she then
donated to children in need. As a result, over the past six years, she
has given 1,200 books to schools in low-income areas of her
community. But "hearing about the tornadoes in Joplin was my call
to action," said My'Kah. "I felt it was important to help the children,
since they can't help themselves."

She started by traveling around Nebraska, asking local businesses to
donate items that could comfort young children. She then asked
shoe stores to donate boxes to hold the items, and recruited friends
to help fill the boxes. My'Kah, along with her mother and a few
friends, traveled to Joplin to distribute their boxes, stopping at that
community's Ronald McDonald House, a Boys and Girls Club and a
home for children displaced by the tornadoes. "It was devastating,"
she said. "I witnessed children left homeless, living in tents without
the security of their favorite toy or blanket." The Joplin experience,
My'Kah said, made her realize the large number of people living
without daily necessities and the need to reach out. She recently
shipped seven boxes filled with puzzles, socks and gloves to soldiers
in Afghanistan, and planned a big Christmas party for children in

As State Honorees, Alexandra and My'Kah each will receive
$1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip
in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two
honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia
for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10
students will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2013.

Father-daughter dance raises funds for charity

January 19, 2010 11:15 pm  •  By the Lincoln Journal Star

Miss Nebraska Junior Princess Hospitality My'Kah Knowlin hosted a
father-daughter dance at the Falls Reception Hall. The event was a fund
raiser for the Books for Literacy program at Maxey Elementary School
and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Nebraska Queens Attending

Queen Meet N' Greet

Monday, September 3, 4:00 p.m.

Bosselman Conference Center

My'Kah Knowlin

Miss Husker Pre-Teen Sweetheart

My’Kah is the 11 year old daughter of Michael and Shelia Knowlin
and will be starting 6th grade at Lux Middle School in Lincoln,
Nebraska. She also loves the theater and has appeared in numerous
plays including Suessical the Musical, Annie, Alice in Wonderland,
Beauty and the Beast and Wicked. My’Kah started her own foundation
in 2011 called Boxes of Love and took over 300 boxes filled with
hygiene items, snacks and toys to families that lost everything in the
tornadoes that hit Joplin, Mo. She is currently working to send boxes to
our Marines in Afghanistan. My’Kah has completed over 400 hours of
community service in the past 2 years and has received the
Presidential Volunteer Award. My’Kah is a straight A student and
enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is your current
reigning Miss Husker Preteen Sweetheart 2012 and just returned from
competing on the ANTSO National stage in San Antonio, Texas.
Our mission is to maximize learning for all students

Patrick Decker, Principal

Tracey Peterson, Assistant Principal

Maxey Elementary School * 5200 S. 75th Street * Lincoln, NE 68516
(402) 436-1153* (Fax) 458-3253*
Volume 15 December 2, 2009 Number 15

Maxey Student Service Project
Enclosed in the Student Wednesday Folder is an explanation of a
service project developed by one of our 3rd grade students, My’Kah
Knowlin. She has gone to a great amount of planning and organizing
to help others in our Lincoln Community and donate proceeds to our

My’Kah's Boxes Of Love                                    


AGE: 11, Lincoln, NE, USA

POSTED: March 20, 2013
Hi, my name is My’Kah, I am 11 years old and started doing
community service when I was 5 years old. I collected over
1,200 books and donated them to low income schools in my
community for kids that may not otherwise have books to call
their own. In May 2011, I heard about the tornado that
devastated one third of the city of Joplin, killing 161 innocent
people. I knew I had to do something to help the kids have
something to hold onto. Boxes Of Love was born with the hope
of giving kids something tangible to hold onto after they have
lost everything to a disaster or tragedy in their life. I started by
talking to local businesses and people in my community about
my idea to take toys, hygiene items, school supplies and
snacks to the kids affected. I collected enough items to fill over
300 boxes and took them to the children of Joplin.

Soon after I returned from Missouri, I found out that there are
marines in Afghanistan that don’t have family sending them
items from home. I collected enough warm socks, gloves and
crossword puzzle books to fill 7 boxes and sent them to
Afghanistan so our soldiers could be warm and know they
were thought of by someone from home.

My third Boxes Of Love was in memory of the kids that lost
their lives in Newtown, CT. on December 14th, 2012. I raised
over $300.00 that went to help with funeral expenses and
collected teddy bears that will be donated to local kids in need
as requested by the people of Newtown.

I’m excited to tell you that my most recent Boxes Of Love
project will be raising money to fund the education of a young
person in Tanzania, East Africa. I have learned that not all
children are allowed to attend school past the sixth grade and
that it cost approximately $400.00 a year, if you do not pass
the national standardized testing. This means that many
children are not given the opportunity to advance their
education past 11 or 12 years old. I also will be collecting
school supplies to send to the students.

My dream is to take Boxes Of Love worldwide where we can
make a difference in the lives of so many kids. I believe that by
giving just a little of your time you can make a big difference in
the lives of others.

In closing I’d like to challenge everyone that reads this to make
a small difference in the life of a stranger. This can be as
simple as holding a door open, picking up something for
someone or a sincere smile, it may be the only kindness that
person receives that day, you never know when others need a
little kindness in their life.

My'Kah Knowlin was recognized as a generationOn Excellence
in Service and Leadership Awardee in March 2013. Find out
how you can become and Excellence in Service and
Leadership Awardee by visiting: http://www.generationon.
Excellence in Service
and Leadership
Lincoln Journal Star

Margaret Reist
March 22, 2013 3:00 am  •  By MARGARET REIST

Twelve-year-old My’Kah Knowlin has her own nonprofit organization
called “Boxes of Love,” a project she started to help tornado victims
in Joplin, Mo.
The Lux Middle School sixth-grader saw the devastation from the
May 2011 tornado that killed 161 people and destroyed a third of
the city.
She wanted to help, so her mom drove her to local businesses and
she asked them to donate shoe boxes and stuff to put inside.
Then My’Kah, her parents, a friend from Lincoln and two girls from
Missouri who collected similar donations went to Joplin to give the
boxes to children who’d lost everything.
She wasn't new to the idea of helping others. She started when she
was 5, asking friends to bring books to her birthday parties to
donate to schools where children didn't have their own.
Over the years, her mom said, they've donated more than 1,200
She’s done other projects, too, and her efforts earned her The
Prudential Spirit of Community Award, one of two Nebraska students
recognized for their volunteer efforts.
She and Alexandra Baxter, 17, of Omaha, will be honored in
Washington in May, along with winners from other states. She
received an engraved silver medallion and $1,000 for her efforts.
But that wasn’t the best part, she said.
“I like seeing the kids’ faces when they get something they’d lost and
they get something of their own again,” she said. “It’s giving them
something to hold on to.”

Reach Margaret Reist at 402-473-7226 or