We’re always excited to hear about the many and varied accomplishments of our ‘Ghany Girls — whether they’re 8-, 14-, 44-, or 84-years-old. (Keep this in mind in case you’ve got news to share.)
In the meantime, it’s longtime camper Lindsay Hunt (7 years at camp including this most recent summer) who’s made news for a non-profit charity she started called “The Little Things Foundation.”
I had heard through the grapevine about her foundation last spring, but she was being a little shy about going public with it at camp.
But a recent story on Lindsay’s work in the Charleston Gazette-Mail has shone a light on her accomplishments and made it so that we can’t help but share it.
So we received permission to re-post the story in its entirety on our blog. Enjoy! (And congratulations Lindsay, that’s just what a ‘Ghany Girl does when she sets her mind to it!)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lindsay Hunt knows it’s the little things that make the difference between a good experience with middle school and a bad one.
She watched as her peers at John Adams Middle School sometimes struggled to find the money to buy new clothes, new school supplies or even to go on a class field trip.
Hunt never had any of those problems, but she knows that no kid that age wants to stick out.
“The little things make the biggest difference,” Hunt said. “Middle school is big time to build someone’s self-esteem.”
So at 15, Hunt, now a sophomore at Virginia Episcopal School, a boarding school in Lynchburg, Virginia, started The Little Things Foundation. The goal was simple: provide teachers with the funds to pay for “the little things,” with no questions asked.
Hunt reasoned that because teachers, counselors and principals best know the students and what they need to succeed, they should be have freedom to purchase those things.
Educators can buy anything on a list of approved items for students without having to jump through any hoops. If they want to purchase something not on the list, they just have to run it by Hunt to make sure. Hunt was surprised to know that one of the most needed items was alarm clocks to help students get to class on time.
And most important, Hunt said, families and students won’t ever have to fill out a form asking for help which some students might find embarrassing.
Right now, the foundation only works with John Adams Middle School, but Hunt hope to branch it out across West Virginia.
In seventh grade, Hunt transferred from Saint Agnes School to John Adams.
“That was my first time ever being out of my sheltered life of private school,” Hunt said. “Really quickly, I saw how kids around me could not access the same things that I had.”
She saw her newfound friends at John Adams with backpacks that were falling apart. A close friend didn’t try out for the basketball team with Hunt because the girl couldn’t afford the $75 to purchase the proper shoes.
And later in the year, nearly everyone in Hunt’s grade took a trip to New York City.
“One girl could not afford to go on the trip,” Hunt said. “The trip cost $200 and most kids could pay that, but she couldn’t.”
Hunt recalled how the teacher and a few others reached into their own wallets and found the money to let the girl go on the trip. But once in the Big Apple, the girl couldn’t buy souvenirs to take back with her.
Lindsay did what she always does when she seems a problem like this with the world — she talked to her parents about it.
“They put a Band-Aid on some of those problems for me in the short term,” Hunt said, “but they wanted me to come up with a long-term solution.”
About that time, when Hunt was in eighth grade, she met Becky Ceperley, president and CEO of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. The girl had an idea in mind of what she wanted the foundation to be, but Ceperley helped flesh out the details.
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation holds all of Hunt’s money for the foundation because she’s not an adult yet. They also take care of all of the taxes and the legal paperwork that comes with running a nonprofit.
Hunt is now the youngest philanthropist at TGKV and has more than $6,000 in the foundation. That number grows every day, Hunt said, and she’s still waiting to hear back from a few larger donors.
She hopes her foundation will be endowed so it can stay around for years to come. In the meantime, she’s set lofty goals for herself: She wants to raise $200,000 in the next couple of years.
To make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-346-3620.
Reach Jake Jarvis at email@example.com, 304-348-7905 or follow @NewsroomJake on Twitter.
I hope you enjoyed this story as much as we did. And who knows, maybe this will be a contender for next year’s ‘Ghany We Will Give!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls