The following article is a reprint of Pink Power Pumpkin Project catches eye of national group published by the Chillicothe Gazette.
When first meeting Avery Brown, you’d never guess the kind of community impact she has made.
Soft-spoken, with a shy smile offered in response to all the attention she received Friday, the Bishop Flaget sixth-grader was honored by the National Catholic Educational Association with its 2017 Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award medal for work she’s done to benefit the Southern Ohio Survivors organization in Ross County.
Avery, with some financial support from her grandmother, started the Pink Power Pumpkin Project when she was headed into the third grade and in the years since, with some help from her friends, has been able to donate more than $5,000 to help the organization dedicated to helping those with cancer, diabetes and other terminal illnesses and their families. Her parents, Wendy and Andy Brown, said their daughter has always had an interest in helping others.
“Her grandma was a breast cancer survivor and so Lynn Bunstine, when I had gone to her to get help for a patient of mine through the SOS, (I) realized how much need there was in the community,” Wendy Brown said. “Avery and I had been talking and she was trying to figure out how to help people and she said I can just paint pumpkins and sell them and it’s taken off and grown and grown and grown.”
The award is a new one for the NCEA, according to Wade Marshall, director of member services for the national organization.
“One year ago, the NCEA board of directors approved a plan to find and recognize those young people in our Catholic elementary and secondary schools who, through their faith, service and vision, were changing their local communities and indeed the world around them through innovation, acts of charity, philanthropy and good old American ingenuity,” he said.
More than 150 students from Catholic schools across the country were nominated by teachers, counselors, principals, coaches and pastors. Of that number, only 10 were selected for the award.
Avery Brown, by your work and by your vision and faith in your ability to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, you have become someone who can and will change the world,” Marshall said in presenting the award. “We are so very proud of you and your achievements and congratulate your family, your church, your school and your teachers for supporting and enabling your vision and ambition for doing good.
Avery was very humble in accepting the honor, saying she has enjoyed working on the project.
“It makes me feel good,” she said. “The pink pumpkins were really fun to do, and it made it even more fun knowing I was helping people.”
Oh, and one of her favorite parts of working on the pumpkins?
“There was a lot of glitter involved, let me tell you that,” she said with a laugh.
Bishop Flaget School, Chillicothe, OH
Diocese of Columbus
Avery started a program to raise money for Southern Ohio Survivors (SOS). This organization helps people and their families in the local community suffering from traumatic illnesses. SOS provides gas cards, food, special equipment and many other items for distribution to those in need. Avery is the creator of the Pink Power Pumpkin Project, where she and her friends paint, glitter and sell the pumpkins in the community. All her supplies are donated and 100% of the money raised goes to SOS. Avery began this program in the summer before going into third grade.