Meet the kids who were nominated for our HearthSong Heroes program. Though they weren't chosen to be HearthSong Heroes, these kids are all working very hard to help kids in need, and they are heroes in every sense of the word. We're grateful for the work they're doing in their communities and the example they're setting, and want to share their stories with as many people as we can.
Thomas Thomas decided he wanted his parents to adopt a little brother when he was five years old. He wanted his little brother to come from Russia, and never wavered in expressing this wish until brother Nicholas joined the family three years later. But when Thomas heard his parents discussing conditions at the orphanage in Russia, he immediately began to talk about ways in which he could help. After much thought and discussion, he decided the problem he could solve the quickest was that of finding summer shoes for the kids. After tackling that, he would move on to "more water" and "a better building." Thus at the age of nine, Thomas launched Shoes for My Little Brother's Orphanage, which has since been expanded to include toys, clothes, and slippers that Thomas helps to box up and send to Russia. But while he continues to expand his base and his gifts to the orphans, he will always have his eye on providing clean water to the orphanage. He's building relationships, and will somehow find a way to approach the orphanage about clean water. Learn more about Shoes for My Little Brother's Orphanage.
Lauren Moved by the story of a young Haitian girl whose dream of getting an education was featured in the film, "Girl Rising," Lauren has undertaken the task of raising money to build an elementary school in Haiti during the summer of 2014. Toward this end, she has put together a team of students (and a few adults) called Raise the Roof. She leads weekly meetings to organize educational and fundraising events to support the project, and then works to carry out those events. As of the end of April, she has raised $30,000 toward her goal of $35,000. Her hope is that the school in Haiti will give children, parents, and grandparents access to a basic education that will allow them to break the cycle of poverty. Her two-year goal includes providing a clean water source and a small clinic at the school, which would help the students stay healthy-and stay in school. Find out more about Raise the Roof Haiti.
Devin Devin's passion for helping others was sparked in 2005, just after Hurricane Katrina. Shocked by the devastation, Devin decided to sell lemonade and donate the proceeds to the Red Cross. In just three days she raised $620. She was inspired and initiated a lifelong passion for helping others. The following year, she started her own fundraising initiative, Devin's Drive. With the help of her friends Devin organized various projects including her yearly Lemon-Aid Sale, which brings in generous donations from the community, matched by private and corporate sponsors. Find out more about Devin's Drive.
Shelby Shelby saw a news article about girls donating their prom dresses for peers in need of a free dress. She was so captivated by this idea and decided to find a cause to get involved in. Shelby started a charitable organization within her elementary school known as "Kids Caring About Costumes." After Halloween, students are asked to donate a new or gently used Halloween costume. The following year, students in need of a costume will be invited to "Shop" for a free donated costume before Halloween. Find out more about Kids Caring About Costumes.
Cee Cee Elephants Remember Joplin started when 8 year old Cee Cee and her mother heard a radio story about the tornadoes that hit Joplin MO and Cee Cee wanted to do something to help. They turned to something that she could do, knit elephants. With the support of friends and family, Cee Cee started a knit-a-thon and raised over $3000 for the Red Cross and other Joplin charities. Cee Cee continues to raise funds for various charities and believes in the motto, "Sometimes a little elephant can make a big difference." Find out more about Elephants Remember Joplin.
Gabriella At the age of nine, Gabriella was diagnosed with a walnut-sized inoperable brain tumor, at which time she and her family literally began smashing walnuts with a frying plan as a symbolic gesture to support the battle against her tumor. Gabriella's energy and passion to help others motivated her to launch the Smashing Walnuts Foundation ("Crack the Cure!"), dedicated to finding a cure to childhood brain cancer. We honor the memory of Gabriella, who lost her battle to cancer on October 26, 2013. She ended each speech with "You may have a bad day today, but there's always a bright shining star to look forward to tomorrow." She will remain a bright star for us and for others, especially children with cancer, who will benefit in many ways from her can-do attitude: less talk and more action! She accomplished much in her short life, and when Congress was considering a bill to require the National Institutes of Health to allocate $126 million of appropriated funds for pediatric research, they named it after her: The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. The bill passed, with bipartisan support, on March 11, 2014. Find out more about Smashing Walnuts
Jackhenry Four years ago, at the age of one month, Jackhenry's little sister Eva was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Since then, Jackhenry has worked to support research that will find a cure for Eva. Every October, he makes presentations on Hydrocephalus at elementary schools, and passes out trick-or-treat buckets so kids can raise money on Halloween and spread awareness of this life-threatening brain condition that affects millions but has very low awareness. Some people with Hydrocephalus endure over 100 brain surgeries in their lifetime, risking brain damage, stroke, coma, and death with each surgery and spending weeks to months in the hospital. Jackhenry encourages others to help make a difference and hopefully find a cure. Watch Jack and Eva's awareness video: Here