Kelsey's Story

My name is Kelsey and I am 10 years old. I have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which is on the autism spectrum. I have trouble talking sometimes and expressing my feelings and I am much smaller than any of my classmates. My mom found me at a Russian orphanage when I was 11 months old weighing less than 14 pounds.

I am very lucky because I have a terrific mom and a great group of family and friends that love me. I am currently in the 4th grade special education program. I am a member of a regional swim team and a cheerleading show team. I have also taken gymnastics and dance lessons since I was three years old and next month I will be competing in my first beauty pageant. In 2012, I was one of the youngest children in the nation to receive an award from the Kohl's Kids Care Scholarship Program for making my community a better place to live. This summer, I won an achievement award from the National STEM Academy to attend a summer engineering camp. During the past several years, I have raised several thousand dollars to benefit a variety of charities that assist special needs children and their families.

During the past three years, I have traveled speaking to a variety of audiences involving individuals ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens. I read a book to the audience and talk about my own two books that contain a collection of short stories about my life since being adopted.

Some day, I want to start my own charitable foundation that will be able to help children and families who need assistance. My mom has taught me that I CAN DO ANYTHING and I want to help others!

Kelsey Norris
Bonaire, GA