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Austin HS student awarded for donating thousands of books to children worldwide

Melissa Khasbagan's first goal was to collect 1,000 books. Fast forward to 2019, she's now collected more than 15,000 books.

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin high school student is being recognized for going above and beyond to help children and teens around the world. She's doing it all through her own non-profit.

Meet Melissa Khasbagan. She's a is a junior at Westlake High School and she started a non-profit called 1,000 Books two years ago as a way to collect quality English books for her cousins living in China.

Credit: KVUE

Her first goal was to collect 1,000 books. Fast forward to 2019, she's now collected more than 15,000 books and has sent them to nine countries all across the world, including Liberia, India, and Mongolia. 

"I thought it was unfair that my cousins who come from the same family weren't getting access to these same opportunities that I was because I was living in the states and I had access to all the amazing resources at a school like Westlake,” said Khasbagan.

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She's been named a finalist for Texas in the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program selects the top student volunteers in the state who are making a positive impact in the community. More than 29,000 students applied nationwide.

“I thought it was really cool and I was definitely not expecting it at all,” said Khasbagan. “I’m thankful that I’m able to receive an opportunity like this.”

After receiving this award, Khasbagan’s goal is to continue to grow her nonprofit and help as many young people around the world as possible.

To learn more about her organization or find ways to volunteer, click here.