BILLINGS – Six years ago, Karlee Albertson saw a commercial on the Disney Channel challenging viewers to be the change they wanted to be in the world. She didn’t hesitate to take up the challenge.
“I paint nails and I raise money to help families at Christmas time that might not be able to afford a Christmas,” Karlee said.
“Karlee kind of always has had big ideas and so when she came out of her room at 7 and said she wanted to help people I was like, alright, you know, whatever, it’s going to change in like five minutes,” said her mother, Kandis Albertson.
But it didn’t.
“Six years later she’s raised $20,000 and helped over hundreds of people here in Billings,” Kandis Albertson said.
Karlee brings Christmas to those in Billings with the help of Santa Claus for a Cause. She also does all of the gift shopping and wrapping.
“I always really liked Christmas and my grandfather passed away on Christmas but he always really liked seeing people’s expressions when you opened your presents. And to be able to be like, I get to be happy knowing that people are going to get to open the presents and hopefully be happy. (It) is a way to remember my grandpa but keep doing what I’ve been doing for so long,” Karlee said.
Now, Karlee is being honored for her efforts.
“I heard about this award, and I applied for it. It’s called the Prudential Spirit Award and if you win you get to travel to D.C. in an all expense paid trip and you get a medallion and $1,000 and I have won this,” Karlee said.
She will also have the chance to win a national award in D.C., being recognized as a youth leader for Montana and the nation.
While there, she will get to eat dinner at the Smithsonian, visit the Arlington Cemetery, and pass out books to local schools.
“Yes, I’m very excited,” Karlee said.
The trip will be a huge networking opportunity.
All award winners will have a roundtable discussion where they can share what they have done in their communities.
Though Karlee says she would love to pass the torch to another young lady when she goes to college someday, for now, she has no plans of stopping.
“I always tell people that when I grow up I want to be like her,” Kandis Albertson said.
Reporting by Jenny Fick for MTN News