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Kate is a bright young woman with an intense focus on academics and a long-term goal of becoming a neuroscientist. Her path is charted very carefully, each day according to schedule. She meets after school with the Brain Club, a group she started that discusses neuroscience and trades academic papers like baseball cards. It’s the kind of group you would never imagine in high school: mature beyond their years and led by their own initiative.
It would seem there was no room in Kate’s schedule for fun, let alone helping others. But then she found out about an elementary school hit hard by the pandemic, then inflation, and now a recession. It sits in the middle of a working-class neighborhood stirred with a mix of ethnicities and wrung out by hours working physically demanding jobs. Most families were doing the best they could just to put a few groceries on the table.
Halloween was approaching, and many of the families didn’t participate because they lacked costumes and couldn’t afford to give out candy themselves. So Kate called the principal. She was told the families wanted their kids to have fun on Halloween, but they also needed more books in the home.
So Kate went to work. She began with the Brain Club and then branched out to other clubs. They would sponsor a trunk-or-treat event featuring games, candy and book giveaways. It was a huge organizational challenge — one that only a very organized person could handle. So Kate put her smarts to use. She arranged for groups of her peers to decorate their cars and create games. She found a DJ and rounded up boxes of costumes for the kids. She even got the local police to decorate their cruiser. And she went to work getting kids books donated.
At dusk on Halloween, the cars arrived in the parking lot. A course was laid out, beginning with choosing a costume, then on to collect candy, play games and dance with high school students who also wore costumes. The little ones were delighted. They’d never had such a great party. And at the end of it all, they signed up for the book club: read a book, then exchange it for another.
The principal said it was the happiest she’s ever seen the kids. As for Kate, she took careful notes on how happiness affects your attitude toward life and learning. She also got a lot of hugs from little princesses and superheroes.
When you take the time, you can make somebody’s world better.
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