Abbie Lenius was one of the Sunrise School Ambassadors last year, a group that was formed to introduce third through fifth graders to service-learning opportunities in Door County. She and her fellow Ambassadors chose to participate in a food drive called the “Souper Bowl of Caring,” designed to collect nonperishable food items for local food pantries around the time of the Super Bowl. The project was a huge success and 2,236 items were collected. What Abbie chose to do with what she learned is what makes this 10-year-old so impressive.
“I had friends who had done parties before where they collected ‘Toys for Tots’ at Christmas or who had asked friends to bring donations for a children’s hospital. I looked in the Volunteer Guide [a guide provided throughout the community to show where volunteer help is needed] and found the [Door County] Humane Society. We have a rescue dog and I wanted to do something that I had an interest in, versus something that I didn’t know anything about,” said Abbie.
So, Abbie went online to find out what kind of donations the Humane Society might need and found a “wish list” that she then sent out with her invitations.
“I think my friends thought it was really fun. Everyone brought things like kitty litter, bleach, dog food and then a ‘fun’ thing like a rubber duck that squeaked. We had to put my dog in the pen because of all of the treats,” Abbie laughed. In addition, Abbie asked her family members to do the same and donate to the Humane Society.
“The Ambassador Program really got [Abbie] thinking about someone else,” recalls Abbie’s mom, Jen Lenius. “Our kids [whose son also participated in the Ambassador Program] became so much more aware of what the needs are in our community.”
The Lenius family was then able to drop off the donations at the Humane Society and tour the new, recently completed facility. “We get so busy with the day-to-day things that it’s easy to forget that little things like Abbie’s party can make really help someone,” said Jen. “It doesn’t take a lot to help someone in your neighborhood. Get the garbage cans out for someone who’s elderly or help in their yard. It may only be a few minutes to you, but for the person you’re helping, it makes a big difference.”
It’s one thing for someone to teach you something, but quite another for that knowledge to be taken a step further and acted upon. Abbie didn’t go back home after her Ambassador project and forget about it – she put what she learned into action and shared that with her friends and family. Abbie is not only a stellar Sunrise School Ambassador, but also a young leader among us.
For more information about the Sunrise School Ambassador Program, the Humane Society or for volunteer opportunities, contact Pam Seiler at the Volunteer Center 920.746.7704 or [email protected].