And children shall lead them
People can do some amazing things if they put their mind to it; especially young people. Two young people that I’m amazed by are Emma and Abigail Yerington. These two girls have worked hard the past couple of years raising money with their Coins for Christmas project. The girls give all the money they raise to families that have turned to the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA) shelter for a safe, temporary place to live. In the first two years of their campaign the girls raised $5,000 for MCSA. What’s amazing is that Emma and Abigail are fourth graders. I was going to add the word ‘just’ or ‘only’ before fourth graders but those words don’t seem appropriate. After all, fundraising is old hat for these girls.
The Yeringtons, with what I’d imagine is a ton of behind the scenes support from their family, saw a reason to help those who are less fortunate and took action to do something about it. When the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine went looking for the first grant recipient for its new Youth Engaged in Service (YES) grant program, Emma and Abigail were a natural choice. The foundation gave the girls a $1,900 grant to kick off their Coins for Christmas campaign this year. For the past few years, the foundation has been looking for ways to encourage young people to serve. Businesses in the community have provided the seed money for these grants.
Recognizing the need for change
Kudos to the foundation and its executive director Judi Holdorf for recognizing that the best way to encourage young people to serve their community is to support them when they have a good idea. I can’t wait to read about the future young people who will receive these grants. I’m sure they’ll be just as amazing and selfless as Emma and Abigail.
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Another person that recognized a need and decided to do something about it is Billie DeKeyrel. Every year, the Salvation Army conducts their Angel Tree program which solicits Christmas lists from area children and families and fills those requests. But often the requests from older children, 12-18 years, are left hanging on the tree. DeKeyrel, a Salvation Army advisory board member decided to do something about that this year and contacted local businesses and organizations to put together gift baskets for area teenagers whose angels don’t get selected. Kudos to DeKeyrel for making sure these older kids have a merry Christmas too.
Finally, I’d like to recognize the group of people, led by United Way’s project manager, Nichole Sorgenfrey, who have found a new way for Muscatine to help feed the needy. They borrowed an idea from Iowa City, the Table-to-Table program that will ask local restaurants and grocery stores for their surplus food – food that would have just gone to waste – and distribute it to organizations that work to feed the hungry. What a great idea and one that should be a no-brainer. People who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from will benefit and according to Sorgenfrey, Iowa City found that less edible food was going to their landfill.
These are just a few of the many people who recognized a need in our communities and are working to create solutions. I’m sure there are many, many other good, smart people out there who are doing the same thing that I just haven’t heard about. Kids like the Yeringtons who have found ways to make a difference in their community. Or folks like Holdorf, DeKeyrel and Sorgenfrey who saw a need and created an opportunity to fill that need. This is what community, and giving back to community, is all about. I applaud their efforts.
If you know of someone who is making a difference, drop us a line. We may be interested in telling their story.