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Local Teen Awarded $10,000 Scholarship From Kohl's Department Stores for Extraordinary Volunteer Efforts

Kohl’s Department Stores announced that Sonali Ranaweera from San Jose is one of 10 national Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program winners receiving a total of $10,000 in scholarships for higher education. In addition to recognizing Sonali for outstanding efforts through volunteerism, Kohl’s will also donate $1,000 to the nonprofit organization of Sonali’s choice – PTA California Congress of Parents Teacher & Students, Inc. Through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, Kohl's is encouraging promising youth to further their education at a time when college costs continue to rise and parents are relying heavily on federal and private student loans to fund higher education.*

Sonali’s compassion towards children led her to create her own charity “Recycling4Smiles” when she was 11 years old. She raises money to help finance cleft lip surgeries, and does so by collecting recyclables from family, friends and neighbors. She enjoys collecting the unwanted items, keeping them out of area landfills, and using the money to help others. After the money is collected, Sonali sends it to Smile Train, an international charity that provides cleft palate surgery to those in need. Since she started her charity in 2012, Sonali has raised more than $3,000 by recycling 7,200 pounds of aluminum, plastic and glass to pay for 13 cleft lip surgeries through Smile Train. This year, Sonali is aiming to help drive more awareness of children born with cleft lips.

In 2013, Kohl’s celebrates its 13th year of rewarding young volunteers. Since the program began in 2001, Kohl’s has recognized more than 19,000 kids, including the 2013 winners, with more than $3.9 million in scholarships and prizes. This year, Kohl’s recognized more than 2,300 young volunteers with more than $400,000 in scholarships and prizes. For more information or a complete list of Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program national-, regional-, and store-level winners, visit www.kohlskids.com.

The Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program is part of Kohl’s Cares, Kohl’s philanthropic program focused on improving the lives of children. For more information, visit www.kohls.com/cares.

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