August 2016
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Pike County 4-H’er Chelsey Holland

Chelsey Holland


A Philanthropist Since Age 14

When Pike County 4-H’er Chelsey Holland was 14 years old, she became a philanthropist. She started Runway of Hope to raise awareness of children suffering from disabilities, chronic or life-threatening illnesses, and for those who may have lost an individual due to illness.

"Generosity is important because first and foremost it tells others who you are inside and out. You are plentiful for a purpose," Holland said.

As a child, Holland’s mom, Crystal, was injured in a fiery car accident that caused third degree burns over 75 percent of her body. Crystal’s mother and grandmother died in the accident. Crystal was flown to the burn center at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham to start a long road of recovery.

Many years later, after hearing the tragic story from her mom, Holland wanted to give back and do something to help children at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham (now Children’s of Alabama).

"I thought a lot about all the pain and suffering my mom went through from being burned, and I wanted to do something for children who are going through what she went through," Holland said.

She and her mom agreed that doing an annual fashion show as a fundraiser was a good idea and it was approved by Children’s of Alabama. Thus was born Runway of Hope.


Chelsey Holland and her mother, Crystal Holland

The fourth annual Runway of Hope was held recently in Pike County and raised $4,000. The event has raised over $15,000 in the past four years.

A recent graduate of Pike County High School in Brundidge, Holland was not only an active 4-H member and served as a state 4-H Ambassador but she was also involved in various volunteer and service projects in her community. In high school, she was varsity cheerleader captain and a member of the Business and Finance Academy. She plans to attend Auburn University this fall. She wants to become a dentist or optometrist.

Holland has been in 4-H since the fourth grade. Some of the many projects she was involved with through the years include public speaking, extreme birdhouse, healthy living, beef cook-off, project green thumb and $15 challenge.

Holland’s involvement in Alabama 4-H helped her put the pieces of her life puzzle together.

"Through my projects and public speaking, I learned more about myself – what I like and dislike. It gave me a chance to figure it out, and for that I am so grateful to 4-H," she related.

Learn what Holland has to say about how 4-H has helped her grow generosity and help young people through 4-H by visiting


Donna Reynolds is the communication editor of news and public affairs with ACES in Auburn.