Many who read my blog know I have a close and proud relationship with my offspring. Since I'll be sending the years 2013 and 2014 off to Blog 2 print, it's now time to mention a huge honor that my then 8 year old grand daughter, McKenna received.
She won a
YOUTH SERVICE OF AMERICA AWARD for 2014.
Not only does this go on to her school transcript,
she won a $1000 grant to go to the charity of her choice
which is the Vermont's Childrens Hospital in Burlington, VT.
I nominated her when I saw advertisements on TV from Channel 22 and ABC news mentioning the Youth Service America campaign and the possibility of winning of a grant. So based on McKenna's generosity and doing so much especially at such a young age, I filled out the appropriate forms and submitted them despite the frustrations of my computer woes and internet service provider problems. Imagine the heart swell I felt when on the first day of school in September 2014 we were notified by YSA representative from Washington DC that she was awarded this honor! SQUEE!!!!
I notified the principal of her elementary school about this immediately so they knew a check would be coming and that grant needed to be channeled through them. We communicated for the next several weeks and I informed her of how all this happened and the sequence of it which I'll share with you now.
It all started in 2012 with PGD#1 learning to quilt and making quilted place mats with her junior guild quilt group of "the Cupcake kids". She enjoyed making those place mats so while the other girls progressed making different items for themselves, McKenna happily sewed the quilted place mats wanting to make another and another. She made around 6 or so for the MEALS on WHEELS programs for this county and a neighboring one. It does take a then 7 year old awhile to sew.
Then also in 2012, both she and her brother, Brody gathered items to send 2 Shoe Boxes to Africa collected through a nearby church. Gladly Popi and I assisted in this as any time we had commitments/errands with the children in town, we'd think of what someone in Africa (and I guess the Appalachia area too) would want and pick up items to fill the shoe boxes. Do you know how much it takes to fill one shoe box? As it turns out, quite a bit, but both children were happy and thinking of their blessings all the while helping out someone they didn't even know. We shopped for brush, hair ties, ribbons, Combs, pics, mirror compacts, note books, boxes of crayons, paint sets, several packages of pencils (charcoal and colored), paper tablets, etc.., zippered bags, tote bags, water bottles, jacks, marbles, rubber super balls, matchbox cars, sewing kits and a couple of tee shirts were given in the two shoe boxes and they both colored a page to include from themselves with their names on it for the recipients.
Then in third grade she got a rubber band loom. Learning to create bracelets of different styles besides other items, which she loved doing the loom so she soon was taking custom orders for making bracelets and stuff. Whichever color and style was wanted was made and then she'd charge a dollar or two for the custom orders, some even getting pencil grips made of their desired colors. If a classmate/friend wanted one, but didn't have the money or couldn't get it from their family, she made them anyway and then gave it to them so no one in her class was left without. Hauling her loom to her cousin's baseball /football games and making many bracelets for the fans in the attendant's preference, many were of favorite National sport team colors, (like the Yankees, Redsox and even some Dolphin fans). After making close to one hundred dollars, her younger brother, Brody age 5 (PGS#3) and a friend/classmate/neighbor, Olivia joined in and continued making bracelets for money to help the children which I coined the phrase "Banding for Children". This continued until July 2014 when they finalized their efforts selling their goods at a town-wide garage sale day along with LEMONADE at their lemonade stand. Total made with their efforts was $163.50. They all got public recognition in the "Speak out" and the Letter to the Editor sections of the local paper.
The Principal didn't want to share their story until the Holiday time so it could foster the spirit of giving within the community, so all three children were recognized for their positive choices and behavior at an assembly. During this gathering, the school had written out a HUGE check to Vermont's' Childrens Hospital in the amount of $1,163.00 that McKenna had to sign as the drawer. Dr. First, Director of VCH had sent a you tube video recognizing the efforts and honor given to and by McKenna which was played during the assembly while also recognizing her brother and friend at the same time. A representative of VCH was also there to accept the check whom I also happened to give the 2 baskets/bags full of the stuffed toys (each toy having their own unique quilt as shared on my blog around November)
|Brody M., McKenna M., and Olivia B holding the check they earned and gave to the Vermont's Childrens Hospital|
Since I had also mentioned in the application process of a quilt she was planning on making for the 10 year old boy in Nicaragua and thankfully it was finished in time for the assembly too, the principal thought it would be great to have all three children hold it up and show it to everyone then.
|Brody M (see how dapper he looks while holding the check - he was so awesome containing his 5 year old self while all this hoopla was going on! Makes a Meme proud), Olivia B., McKenna M. and their principal Mrs TM|
Now even in that, the principal gave McKenna a choice.
Since she won this award and not all three of them, would she want the others to stand up on stage with her to be recognized?
Yes, she wanted them to receive the recognition too,
what a beautiful, giving and open-hearted child she is.
|McKenna M. acting like a 9 year old. Perfect! 8^ )|
She is a blessing to all who know her and now perhaps even to some that don't.
Lovingly written by her Grandmother Jane, aka Meme.