When Emily Aldritt was just 11 years old, she started Em's Treat'em Sweet, a nonprofit organization that sells baked goods to the community.

Recognized by local organizations, she’s now been honored at the state level, receiving the 2018 Governor’s Volunteer of the Year award. Since 2011, Aldritt, now 17, has donated 100 percent of her proceeds, raising $80,000 for the Bakersfield Homeless Center and Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.

“I just wanted to start something that would continue and last and have a legacy and would have a lasting impact,” the Liberty High senior said.

Because of her hard work and dedication, Aldritt was honored Wednesday with the award, which recognizes one volunteer throughout the entire state who has demonstrated passion and dedication to serving their community.

“It was an honor and surreal experience to be recognized today,” she said at the presentation. “I felt so honored and humbled.”

Aldritt received her award, provided by the Office of the Governor and California Volunteers, in the state Capitol. During her speech, she was surprised to see Gov. Jerry Brown walk into the room with his Corgi, Colusa, and congratulate her.

Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, nominated Aldritt.

“Emily’s community service and impact at such a young age could not go unnoticed,” Fong said. “She has brought together adults and teens to raise awareness about family violence and homelessness, as well as increased volunteer awareness amongst her high school peers. I am thrilled the governor has chosen to recognize Emily on a statewide level for her positive contributions to Kern County.”

At the beginning of the year, Aldritt, along with a few friends, also founded Boxes of Comfort, a service project that spreads love and support to mothers with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Bakersfield hospitals.

Aldritt has been recognized a number of times for Em’s Treat’Em Sweet, which sells a variety of Chex mixes and pumpkin loaf during the holiday season. In 2013 and 2016, she was honored at the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards, and she received the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award in 2016.

“I started Em’s Treat’Em Sweet … because I wanted to see every child have a chance for a sweet life,” said Aldritt. “I have enjoyed working in the community and seeing how a simple act can make a huge impact on someone’s life; it is the reason I continue to serve.”

With so much accomplished at a young age, what’s next for Aldritt? When The Californian spoke with her Thursday, she was on her way to the airport to catch a flight to visit Louisiana State University, one of the 11 universities to which she has been accepted. She is also looking into the University of Colorado Boulder and Baylor University.

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