October 27, 2017

Students give from the heart to help hurricane victims

Will Lewis, a third-grade student at Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove, came up with a unique way to raise money for hurricane victims. He offered to play people songs on his keyboard for donations. He raised $55.02. Will is pictured with his sister Kara. (Submitted photo)

Will Lewis, a third-grade student at Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove, came up with a unique way to raise money for hurricane victims. He offered to play people songs on his keyboard for donations. He raised $55.02. Will is pictured with his sister Kara. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

Eight-year-old Will Lewis wanted to do something special “to help the people who lost their homes, pets and schools” due to the hurricanes that raged through the Gulf Coast of the United States and the Caribbean islands in August and September.

So the third-grade student at Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove set up his keyboard on the street in front of his family’s house, and made a sign announcing that he would play a song for $1 to raise money for the hurricane victims.

Then he spent half a day on a scorching September Saturday playing songs on the keyboard—the instrument he started to play 10 months ago.

Will’s musical gift is just one of the many ways that many students and Catholic schools across central and southern Indiana have shared their talents, efforts, money and compassion to help the victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“It made me feel good to help others,” said Will, who also received help from his 9-year-old brother Owen and his 5-year-old sister Kara. “I raised $55.02. Someone gave me $20 for one song. I thought it was kind of too big. I just asked for a dollar. They wanted me to keep it.”

Will played from his repertoire of about 10 songs, including “Lean on Me,” “Riptide,” “Rockin’ Robin” and “Hey There Deliah.”

The money he raised became part of the $745 that Holy Name School contributed to Catholic Charities to assist hurricane victims.

“He has a giving heart,” says Will’s mother, Melissa Lewis. “For him to come up with something like this on his own meant a lot to me as a mother.”

Shelby Hale’s mom had the same reaction when her daughter asked her friends to donate money to hurricane victims instead of giving presents to her on her 10th birthday on Sept. 6.

“Shelby has always been aware of other people’s feelings, and she wants to help them out,” says Donna Hale, Shelby’s mother. “She had attended a couple of parties for friends who had done something similar, and she liked the idea. She is thankful that she has all of her needs met when many others do not.”

The fourth-grade student at St. Jude School in Indianapolis donated the $170 she received for her birthday to Catholic Charities’ efforts to help hurricane victims.

“It made me happy,” Shelby says. “I knew I was helping people who really needed it.”

These acts of generosity make a difference on a number of levels, according to Theresa Chamblee, the director of social concerns for Catholic Charities in the archdiocese.

“It warms my heart and soul when I hear of children who step up when they see strangers in need,” Chamblee says. “It is through these acts of love and kindness that I am reminded how much children lead the way on how we are all called to love our neighbors.” †

 

Related story: First graders demonstrate ‘God’s love’ as they help friend’s family hit by hurricane

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