A 12-year-old honors student from Athens has earned an opportunity few people receive, despite living like few people would want.
"This child was in a reading circle when she was three years old," recalls Katheryn Wilhite about her daughter, Mia, "and it has been getting better and better every year."
But for Mia, this year has been different. She is living with her mom, sister, and five other families at the Athens Area Homeless Shelter.
Katheryn Wilhite lost her job in January, and by June the family had to give up its home. Despite that, Mia continued to plug away in school this year, and one of her administrators at Clarke Middle School took notice. Mia was nominated to attend the People to People Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
Says Mia about the conference, "Because of the world we're growing up in and how bad the economy is right now, I think we have to think about this kind of stuff."
The problem is, since the conference is in Washington, it requires a thousand dollars in travel and tuition costs the Wilhites don't have. So they're asking for help -- asking for charity at a charitable time of year -- for a girl who continues to stay focused on school despite all the stress around her .
"As strange as it sounds," said Mia, "I'm kind of glad we went through all of this because it's helped our family a lot more than it's affected us in a bad way."