Incredible High School Students: Peter Larson

October 20, 2014

Peter Larson, a teenager from Plymouth, Minnesota, took raising money for charity to a whole new level. 

Peter Larson, age 6
Peter Larson, age 6

When he was just six years old, Peter began to raise money and awareness for local homeless people by participating in an annual “sleep out.” In the middle of Minnesota’s harsh winter, Larson would solicit sponsorships from friends and neighbor, and sleep outside every single night for 40 consecutive days. He then gave all of the money he raised to help the homeless. 

Peter says he was inspired on a Cub Scout trip he took in first grade when their troop had to sleep outside in the cold. That trip, he found out that it takes about $500 dollars to help out a homeless family forced to sleep out in the cold every night. At that young age, he said to himself, “I can do that!” and never looked back.

He started off small, just sleeping outside on his back deck on weekends. However, he was determined to make an even bigger difference in the lives of those who needed help, and increased his efforts incrementally until he was sleeping outside for over a month at a time, with nothing but a cardboard box for shelter. 

Temperatures would often reach below zero every single night, and Peter recalls being worried that his hair would be frozen in the morning! However, no amount of discomfort made Peter give up his efforts and go inside, and he continued to brave the freezing elements while maintaining solid grades at school. The sleep out soon became an annual tradition, which his local town still honors and participates in today. He has inspired students across the US to hold similar sleep-outs. 

Over the past twelve years, Peter Larson has personally spent over 300 nights sleeping outside and raised over $500,000 for the homeless.

This incredible personal devotion to a cause he clearly truly cared about offered him something substantial to put on his college applications, and make him stand out in a sea of overqualified applicants. Follow Peter’s example and find something extracurricular to do that will make you stand out, too. Good grades alone are not enough to get into top-tier schools. You need something that will truly “wow” the admissions boards, and make them want to convince you to come to their campus.

 

 



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