Spalding University senior Dee Sliter was named a Johnson & Johnson Youth Champion of Care.
Sliter, one of 11 people honored out of 66,000 entries, was chosen after making 591 thank you cards for the soldiers. Sliter, coming from a military family, submitted a video expressing the importance of the campaign; "I think it is important to show our gratitude to soldiers because without them we would not have the opportunities we have today." Sliter, who has been a dual-sport student-athlete during all four years, still finds time to serve her community while also fulfilling her roles on the soccer and basketball team.
Johnson & Johnson partnered with dosomething.org, the USO and US Soccer on a program named Smiles for Soldiers. The campaign encouraged young people across America to write thank you cards to active duty service members and generated nearly 150,000 letters. The goal was for soldiers, who were otherwise disconnected from home, to feel comforted by many expressions of gratitude.
Once the winners were selected, they were flown to Los Angeles for an all-expense paid trip. There, the Youth Champions of Care attended a US Women's National game, where they were honored on the field for their service work. The group had their videos played at the StubHub Center and also had the opportunity to meet US National soccer players Landon Donovan, Morgan Brian, and Julie Johnston. After the game, they filled care kits to send to soldiers full of Johnson & Johnson products and delivered them to the Bob Hope USO center. Sliter continued to show gratitude describing her experience as a "dream come true."
Here's a video about the Smiles for Soldiers program: https://twitter.com/landondonovan/status/803372935297675264
STORY COURTESY OF SPALDING UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION