Korrine Nelson of Danbury, Conn., identifies with the people she serves on a deeper level than most.

Korrine knows hunger.

She knows homelessness.

She knows what it’s like to depend on the charity of others.

“Before my mom passed away, we had a lot of money issues,” said the 17-year-old.

In 2013, Korrine’s mother lost her business and her family was thrown into a state of financial insecurity. Soon, Korrine was forced to sleep in other people’s homes, eventually living in a homeless shelter for four months.

During that time, she depended on charity to get things she need like clothes and shoes.

Later that year, her mother died, and Korrine moved to Danbury to be raised by her aunt.

“When I moved to Connecticut, my aunt was looking for something for me and my cousin to do,” Korrine said,  explaining how she got her start with the local Youth Volunteer Corps affiliate.

Four years later, Korrine has become an integral part of the service group while working on projects like painting a garden wall and blacktop area.

Now Korrine serves as president of their Youth Advisory Board. Her cousin serves as vice president.

“I like to work with the less fortunate,” Korrine said. “I’ve gone from having more money to needing donations and now being stable.”

The challenges Korrine has faced has inspired her to seek out and help community members who are facing challenges of their own.

Knowing the struggles of poverty, she’s now seeking to pay it forward.

“That’s the biggest thing for me—giving back for everything I’ve received,” said Korrine.

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