Alanna “Lonnie” Wall’s Dayton-based non-profit Polished Girlz that provides fingernail services for hospitalized or special needs girls has grown to include hundreds of volunteers in cities across the United States.
And the attention Wall has received — from Dayton Daily News stories stretching back to 2011 to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and a Black History Month Scholarship — also continues to increase.
A new feature on the NBC News Better website tells of how Wall, now 18 and a graduate of Stivers High School, will continue her 503(c) non-profit but mostly concentrate on college this fall studying business at the University of Southern California.
“My parents and I always agree that my education has to come first,” Walls told NBC BETTER, which recapped Walls’ desire to help everyone feel happy and that a manicure was a small way to do it.
“I loved the way that having my nails done made me feel: girly and special,” she said during the interview. “I knew that some kids didn’t always feel that way — didn’t feel beautiful — and I wanted to bring that feeling to them.”
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Earlier this year, Wall was awarded with a $500 scholarship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in recognition of educational excellence. Wall was presented with the scholarship by the Greater Dayton Blacks in Government chapter presented.
In 2011, Wall and her organization were named United Way Volunteers of the Month and received a proclamation from the mayor of Dayton.
In 2014, she was one of seven finalists for DoSomething.org’s “The Hunt,” a week-long campaign in partnership with Toyota in which young people across the country take action on a different cause each day.
In 2013, Wall told DeGeneres that her organization had chapters in Illinois, California, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. and emails had come from the Netherlands and Colombia.
“I want to be worldwide,” Wall said then. “I want to be everywhere.”
With now more than 900 volunteers across the country, it appears Wall is on her way.