Third-Grader Takes Action

I received a call last week in regards to someone wanting to volunteer to help the homeless. It’s not unusual to receive a call like that when you work for a nonprofit. As a matter of fact, you count on receiving those calls. But this call was different. This call was from a dad who told me that his 9 year old daughter was seriously concerned about the homeless in the community and wanted to help. He also told me that she was already putting a plan in place to raise money to do just that. She just needed a person or an organization that could get the money to the folks she was wanting to help. After visiting with dad over the phone, I knew I wanted to meet this young lady. I made an appointment to meet her later in the week after school. On Friday I traveled to Little Indian Construction, her dad’s workplace near the lake dam, to visit with her.

Tristan Paduch is a third grader from J. B. Stephens Elementary in Bangs. She was joined by mom, Karissa, and sister, Alexis. I introduced myself and told her I worked with Brown County Home Solutions and that I understood she wanted to help homeless people in our county. She told me she did. I asked her what in the world had given her the idea that a). there are homeless people in our community, and b). what was her plan, as a third grader, to help? Tristan told me that she and her dad had come to Brownwood a few days ago and they saw a poor homeless person near a shop. She pointed him out to her dad and said, “Dad, we have to do something to help. What if that was me, or us, and nobody cared about us? How could we make it?” Her dad had a few dollars in his pocket and gave it to the gentleman.

For a lot of people it would have ended there. We would be satisfied that we had done our part to address the need of the less fortunate. But not Tristan. Tristan came up with a plan. Not only did she conceive a plan, she enlisted some of her friends to help. Obviously, Tristan understands that it takes a lot of folks working together and coordinating efforts to effect change. Her friend Claire will be making ornaments, Juliette will make pillows, Bailor will make necklaces and bracelets and Tristan will be making miniature snow globes and pictures. Wow! And these ladies are THIRD GRADERS! Next, Tristan went to the school’s principal, Mrs. Wilson, about selling the handmade items at school this week. Tristan and her friends will be selling their handmade treasures to help the homeless Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week at the benches in front of J. B. Stephens Elementary before the start of classes each day.

I expressed my appreciation and admiration for all the work Tristan has already done. I also applaud the parents who have raised such a caring daughter and empowered her to believe that she CAN make a difference – at any age. Tristan told me, “I would just be worried about them (the homeless) if I didn’t do something. What if it was me? Or my mom or dad? Or a sister? I would want someone to care and to help.” Me too, Tristan! Me too!

If you get a chance, or make a chance, go by and support these young entrepreneurs with heart.