RENO — A Reno girl who collects toys and books for young disaster victims across the country has won a national award. Ashlee Smith, 10, will receive a Founder’s Youth Award from the nonprofit group World of Children in New York on Thursday, the day after appearing on CBS’s “The Early Show.”
The award includes a $15,000 grant, which Ashlee is hoping to use to attract matching funds and expand her nonprofit organization called Ashlee’s Toy Closet. Ashlee launched it in 2007 after a wildfire destroyed 254 homes on Lake Tahoe’s south shore.
Ashlee says she knew how young victims of the fire felt because her family lost its home to a 2005 fire when she was 6. Her organization distributes toys and books to children affected by fires, floods and other natural disasters.