Thursday, May 13, 2021

Help this teen achieve Stars and Stripes

Contrary to what we may think at times, there are teenagers doing extraordinary things in our communities.

One doesn’t need to look any further than Jennifer Burtis of Owatonna to figure that out. Burtis, 17, is a member of the American Heritage Girls Troop, a national Christian-based character development program for girls ages 5-18.

As an 11-year member of AHG, Burtis is now focused on achieving the organization’s highest honor, the Stars and Stripes award. She is planning, leading and implementing a substantial service project for Steele County’s Rachel’s Light, a home that provides a safe and secure environment for women and children.
Burtis plans to build a storage shed for Rachel’s Light, which currently can’t accept large donations. According to Burtis, Rachel’s has to reject donations from time to time because they don’t have room for them.

But there’s one catch.

Burtis needs to raise $4,000 and is accepting donations to help make the shed become a reality for Rachel’s. As of early this week, the piggy bank for this project was empty.

The volunteers have already been secured to build the shed in late April and early May. Burtis has 5-10 volunteers working in shifts over several days to handle the construction.

She took it upon herself to meet with representatives from Rachel’s to see what she could do for them. “We brainstormed a little bit, and they mentioned a shed,” Burtis said. “That interested me, and I decided to build a shed for them.”

Being involved with AHG has been a life-changing experience for Burtis. “It’s really nice to get together with girls your age and spend time together to learn about God and be women of integrity,” she says.

Besides AHG, the junior is also a member of the Owatonna High School cross country and track teams, FFA and National Honor Society. She is home-schooled.

She seems to be focused and determined to help her community.

“It’s important to give back to your community and serve others in need because it builds a stronger community,” said Burtis, who is the daughter of Jeff and Michelle Burtis.

Anyone wishing to donate to Burtis’ project can go to Rachel’s website at Be sure to specify that the donation is for the shed.

And Burtis thanks donors in advance for helping.

“Thank you for helping me to make a big impact on women and children struggling in the community,” she said.

I think everyone can agree it’s so refreshing to see young people stepping up into leadership roles while focused on helping their communities.

Let’s go in hot pursuit of helping Burtis achieve her goal of $4,000 to benefit Rachel’s Light as well as the women and children who seek a loving home to allow them the opportunity to live out their unique purpose.


Stars and Stripes Project

• Benefits Rachel’s Light of Steele County

• $4,000 needed to build a shed

• Donate at, specify shed project




Jennifer Burtis of Owatonna is seeking donations from the community to help her build a storage shed for Rachel’s Light in Steele County.

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Steele County Times

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

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