Los Altos high sophomore Marissa Mirbach, 15, was recently named as a finalist in the San Francisco 49ers Community Quarterback Award program, which recognizes individuals for service to their community. Mirbach has volunteered with the InnVision Opportunity Center in Palo Alto since she was 12 years old, and first started donating to charity with her allowance money at age seven.
Last year in her English class, Mirbach was given an open-ended writing assignment. With the help of her father, she rented a list of 5,000 names and distributed a direct mail for InnVision.
"It started out as just a school project," she says, but as of this fall she has raised $20,000 for the organization, which provides shelter and services to homeless and at-risk families in the Bay Area.
As part of the 49ers honor she attended a luncheon and attended their Thanksgiving day game, where she was recognized at half-time out on the field.
"Now that I see that I can actually make a difference and actually achieve something it makes it really rewarding." She says of the award.