When 12-year-old Kelsey Hirsch learned about the allegations of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky, she wanted to take immediate action: “My first response was to ask how can I help,” she says.
With the support of her parents, who are both Penn State graduates, Kelsey decided to dedicate the community service component of her Bat Mitzvah prep to help survivors of sexual abuse. She created Bands4RAINN, blue wristbands that say “Hope. Courage. Strength,” to promote sexual abuse awareness.
Kelsey has already sold thousands of wristbands for $3 each, with all proceeds to RAINN. She quickly passed her goal of $1,000, and has already raised more than $11,000.
Since the Sandusky story broke in November, usage of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline has increased 47%, meaning that thousands of additional people have gotten help. The funds Kelsey is raising help RAINN meet the increased demand.
Kelsey was also inspired by the outpouring of support for RAINN shown by Penn State alums, thousands of whom came together to support the Online Hotline and show the world that Penn State is much more than the actions of a few people.
During a ceremony this month at RAINN’s DC headquarters, Kelsey presented a giant check from the wristband proceeds to RAINN’s president and founder, Scott Berkowitz. Berkowitz thanked Kelsey, calling her an “inspiration to all of us,” and presented her with the “Hope Award” for her dedication and support of sexual abuse survivors. Kelsey is the youngest person to ever receive the award. Past recipients are actress KaDee Strickland, pro wrestler Mick Foley, and the creator of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Shonda Rhimes.
Kelsey and RAINN staff were joined by her father, Charles Hirsch, and former Penn State football players Joe Carlozo (#38), Phil LaPorta (#65), Steve Smear (#76) and Ryan Pinckney (#29).
Help Kelsey meet her new goal of raising $100,000 for RAINN by buying a band today.
Learn more about Kelsey and Bands4RAINN: