Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Student finds true joy in helping the less fortunate
A West Jessamine Middle School student in Nicholasville is finding that true joy does not come from having things, but by being a “giver of things.” Grace Harvey, a petite and energetic honor student, makes it a practice to act out her religious faith through her compassionate efforts for others. She also gives some of her hard-earned money to help less fortunate people. And, in an awesome display of grace — like her first name shows — she once gave up a new bicycle she had won in a school contest to allow another student to get the prize!
“Grace is such a wonderful student,” said Heidi Crabtree, who was her fifth grade teacher. “She has such a generous, kind heart toward all her classmates and friends.”
The evidence for Crabtree’s statement is strong, to be sure. Grace worked with enthusiasm during Christmas, 2011, to support an organization called Food for the Hungry. She raised money for some very practical uses. “I bought de-worming medicine for 500 kids, some Tippy Taps (a basic hand washing station), a year’s worth of water purification tablets for a family, and a pair of chickens,” said Grace.
During the same period, she worked through her place of worship, the Southland Christian Church in Jessamine County, to help with the church’s goal of packing 1.1 million meals to send to the poor country of Haiti.
There are regular activities in which Grace volunteers in order to be a “giver” to others, too.
“On the third Saturday of every month,” Grace explained, “I go to my grandma’s church and they do something called a ‘manna-meal,’ where people come who don’t have a lot of money or anything like that and they come and have lunch.” The church cooks the food and provides drinks and desserts. Volunteers also serve by waiting on tables. “It’s a lot of fun and you learn that you don’t have it as tough or hard as some people do,” she remarked. Grace finds time, too, to help every Saturday night in Southland’s church nursery with very young children.
While a student at Brookside Elementary, Grace used her knack for being lucky to put a big smile on the face of another student at the school. In contest drawings the school had for perfect attendance achievers, she won a bicycle in the third grade and twice in the fifth grade. After winning the second time in the fifth grade, she shocked the school staff and students in an uplifting, unusual way. “I told them to draw again because I already had two bikes at home,” Grace said. “It just gives me joy when I help other people.”
Grace’s parents, Scott and Greta Harvey, admire what their oldest child has done for others.
“We are so proud of her loving and giving heart,” Greta said. “We pray all the time that we (the family) will all see others as Jesus does and love them as He does. Grace has always been generous and kind toward others, and especially those who have been overlooked.”
Young Grace Harvey has learned early the importance of living unselfishly for the benefit of others. She is a fine example for her peers and a wonderful instrument of love — and she likely is just getting started on this positive path.
Note: Grace Harvey, along with author Steve Flairty and illustrator Rita DeLozier-Abshear, will be signing Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes for Kids Saturday, August 11, 2-4 at Book Cents, in Brannon Crossings, Nicholasville.
Steve Flairty is a life-long Kentuckian, a teacher, public speaker and an author of three books, a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and two “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes,” collections of stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes for Kids is available now at many bookstores around the state or from the author.. This piece is an excerpt from that book. Steve is a correspondent for Kentucky Monthly. His column for KyForward appears weekly. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.