Ally Welch is part of the senior class of 34 students from Wabasso Secondary school.

She recently led a No-Shave November fundraiser where nearly every teacher who could grow a mustache participated by growing their mustaches to inch-long lengths.

Funds from the month-long event will be donated to the Tackle Cancer Fund, which is a Minnesota-based organization that donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund cancer research, prevention, treatment and other programs in the state’s cancer community.

The contest recognized which teachers have the best and worst mustaches. Voting took place Dec. 1, and the teacher selected with the least favorite mustache will have to wear a humorous costume.

“In our community, this is a big deal,” said Welch, 17, of nearby Vesta. “We try to get the whole school involved, and everyone knows about it.”

Welch was honored recently during WE Day Minnesota, where she earned a $1,000 grant for her school from The Allstate Foundation. 

Welch received the grant on stage at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul. She was one of three Minnesota teens who received grants for their school from The Allstate Foundation.

The teens were selected because of their good work with the WE Volunteer Now projects, which help schools and youth groups in their efforts to give back to local communities in creative and unique ways.

“It was surreal to be in front of this many people,” Welch said of WE Day Minnesota, which attracted 16,000-plus teenagers and students.

Welch’s hometown has a population of 307.

The total enrollment of Wabasso Secondary in Grades 7-12 – is 211. Welch’s school will be using the funds to purchase hams and turkeys for a local food pantry.

In recent years, about 40 hams and turkeys have been donated to families in the school district that may not be able to have a Christmas dinner.

Laura Freveletti, senior program manager at The Allstate Foundation, said, “We are committed to empowering youth to step up as leaders in their communities and realize their full potential, while also addressing pressing social issues. Young people, like Ally, have the passion and vision to make a positive difference in society. As adults, we need to listen to youth and encourage them to keep reaching for the stars.”

Welch and her twin sister, Gabby, also in January intend to contribute to the Crayon Initiative, which is a national campaign that organizes crayon collections that takes unwanted crayons, remanufactures them and provides them to hospitals that are caring for children.

“I’ve always been a person who can take charge,” Welch said.

Welch plans to continue her charitable work in some capacity when she attends the University of Sioux Falls next school year. She is also excited to see how the next class of Wabasso Secondary students will contribute to the community.

“I hope everyone else can take this over and make even a greater impact,” she said.

For more information on The Allstate Foundation, visit www.allstatefoundation.org.