After attending his first Diverse Youth for Social Change (DYSC) meeting about a year ago, 16-year-old Jacob Gresham felt right at home. Gresham made friends, felt accepted, and was inspired to join the fight for equal rights and raise awareness about social injustice.
from the magazine
When deciding where to volunteer during their junior year, Claire Derby and Shelby Davidson chose to go intergenerational. Read More…
So the trickle of words flowing out of my young’un’s mouth these last few months has steadily increased to the point where it is now a near-constant geyser of verbiage that overpowers anything anyone is talking about or listening to. Which is fine. Read More…
Looking at 17-year-old Samantha Johnson, you would see a normal teenager. She has a bright, winning smile, enjoys dancing and playing basketball and sings in her high school choir. Read More…
When my son was born, he had this small island of hair atop his little head – nothing on the sides or the back, just the top. Out of this patch, there were maybe 20 or 30 hairs that were a good deal longer than the rest. This renegade gaggle of follicles would invariably drift upward, sticking up and resisting the oppressive forces of gravity. It was pretty funny looking. In every photo of him from that time, you could just make out this stand of wispy blond hairs sticking straight up. Read More…
Less than a week after Remi Hodges and her family returned home from their vacation in Thailand in late 2004, a tsunami hit the region destroying infrastructure and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Hodges was 8 at the time, and remembers watching the news in disbelief and being devastated.
“She said, ‘We’ve got to do something,’” her mom, Audrianna Grisham, remembers.
A few months later on Valentine’s Day, also Hodges’ ninth birthday, she asked for donations to the American Red Cross instead of presents. She says she raised more than $1,000, becoming a major gift donor for the organization. That was just the start of Hodges’ fundraising.
“I just kept going, and I haven’t stopped,” says Hodges, now 17.
This level of fundraising at such a young age “doesn’t happen without supportive parents,” and Hodges has “received incredible support from her parents in her efforts,” says Brigette Williams, regional communications officer for the Red Cross in Arkansas.
Asking for donations to the Red Cross instead of birthday presents has become one of Hodges’ major fundraising campaigns. Last year for her 16th birthday, she had a 1950s, sock-hop-themed Sweet 16 party and raised about $1,500 for the Red Cross.
Besides asking for donations on her birthday, Hodges also writes letters seeking donations and finds other ways to raise money, like setting up games at the annual convention of one of her mom’s clients.
“It’s fun to figure out what to do next,” she says. “I never expect to get anything back.”
Despite years of fundraising, Hodges says she’s always surprised and humbled at the level of giving. Over the years, she estimates that she’s raised about $10,000 for the Red Cross. She says it’s been a great experience and she has enjoyed meeting people, making friends and being one of the youngest in attendance at “official” Red Cross meetings.
Hodges is a member of the Clara Barton Society, which is a designation for those who gift $1,000 or more per year to the Red Cross. She also received the Arkansas Heroes Youth Award when she was nine.
The importance of commitment and seeing something through is something Grisham has instilled in her daughter. This quality has been evident in Hodges’ fundraising and in her other activities, like volunteering at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center and being active in her school band. In April, Hodges, a junior at Maumelle High School, will star in the school’s production of “Grease,” and this summer she plans to attend Arkansas Governor’s School.
Fundraising for the Red Cross goes beyond actually raising money, says Hodges. She says it also includes raising awareness about the world’s problems. And, she says, she feels lucky to have the chance to inspire others.
“I like to open people’s eyes to what’s going on in the world,” Hodges says. “It’s cool to do that at my age. I’ve helped in something bigger than myself.”
The American Red Cross in Arkansas works daily to help individuals prevent, prepare for and respond to natural and manmade disasters and emergencies through education and the immediate mobilization of people and resources for disasters. The Red Cross impacts communities in many ways, through response to residential fires and other disasters, blood donations, and lives saved by someone trained in First Aid, CPR or AED.
3 easy ways to make a donation to the American Red Cross:
- Online donation form
- text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
- Or, call 1-800-RedCross
Through volunteering at Arkansas Heart Hospital over the past few months, 13-year-old Joi Hood has learned a lot about herself. Read More…
Written by Deborah Hopkinson; Illustrated by AG Ford Read More…
My son is becoming stronger by the day, maybe even by the minute. This is cool and all because, naturally, I want him to grow up into a 6’5”, 200-lb. athlete in some high-paying sport that doesn’t involve head injuries or wearing spandex at any juncture. Read More…
Maggie Culp and Haiden Fender have learned a thing or two about leadership and the importance of helping others, through their National Programs in Action project for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. The two Maumelle Middle School students are raising awareness about the Waner Children’s Vascular Anomaly Foundation, a project they call “Waner Works.” Read More…