A lot of Americans identify themselves by their work. It's often how we introduce ourselves or describe our friends and parents: "I'm a police officer." "I'm a spot-welder." "My dad was a druggist." "My mom was a teacher." "My wife is a pilot." "My friend is a firefighter." "I sell insurance."
Our work has been a kind of identity stamp, defining us as much as our last name or place of birth. As Studs Terkel wrote in his 1974 classic, Working, "Our jobs give us daily meaning as well as daily bread."
Sophia Greenwalt, 13, is the founder of Helping Hats, a fundraising program in the Reeds Spring School District. Once a month, students and staff can wear a hat to school for a dollar donation. The money raised that day goes to a non-profit organization in the community.
In 2012, Sophia has gotten nine local businesses on board to match the money raised by the school. Helping Hats has raised more than $20,000 for organizations such as the Joplin School District (after a devastating tornado), the Humane Society and others.