**MINNESOTA STUDENT RAISES NEARLY $20,000 FOR SPEED THE LIGHT
As a high school junior, Courtney Olson believed that God had told her to set a goal of $10,000 to raise for Speed the Light last year.
Olson is actively involved in JCP Student Ministries, the youth group at Emmanuel Christian Center (AG) in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.
She and her friends were inspired to design a "one month T-shirt"and distribute the shirt to classmates who were willing to wear it for one month straight.
Donations were collected daily throughout one month, and with 30 students participating, Olson was able to collect $3,000 for Speed the Light in 2010.
"While she did not meet her Speed the Light goal last year, she was determined to try again this year," says Liz Martin, assistant youth pastor of JCP Student Ministries. "Courtney is the kind of girl that will change the world and is an encouragement and challenge in life to all she meets. She knows how to dream big," Martin says.
In the 2011 school year, Olson, now a senior at Centennial High School, was able to recruit 178 students to participate in her project.
The students met once a week at the high school and Olson's church throughout one month. There, Olson collected money for Speed the Light and preached short messages to participating students about God's heart for people. "At one of the meetings she also presented the Gospel, knowing that not all of the participating students had accepted God into their lives," says Martin.
In the course of Olson's project, many students became familiar with the love of Christ for themselves and others and have had the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior, in addition to raising money for missionaries through Speed the Light.
Through Olson's heart and creativity, nearly $17,000 was raised in the matter of one month, Martin says.
"People recognize her from sharing at our church on a Sunday morning and still hand her money for the project ... it continues to trickle in," says Martin.
In the past two years ‹ technically, in just two months ‹ Olson was able to raise nearly $20,000 for Speed the Light by challenging students at her high school to participate in her Speed the Light project.
More to come.....